Huddersfield Town have parted company with their sporting director, Olaf Rebbe, three days after manager David Wagner left by mutual consent. The Premier League’s bottom club thus have two significant vacancies as they search for an improbable escape route from relegation.
Rebbe, who joined Huddersfield last May after being let go by Wolfsburg, would have had a say in the appointment of Wagner’s successor even if his role did not carry as much power as that of people with similar job titles at some clubs. He would have had a big influence over any transfers between now and the closure of the transfer window. Rebbe had a good relationship with Wagner and worked with his fellow German on player recruitment in addition to overseeing scouting, analysis, sports science and medicine. Huddersfield are keen to appoint a permanent successor to Wagner soon, with the under-23 coach, Mark Hudson, in temporary charge of the first team for Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Manchester City. Contenders for the position on a full-time basis include Willy Sagnol, formerly in charge of Bordeaux and Bayern Munich, and Jan Siewert, the 36-year-old head of Borussia Dortmund’s reserves. Wagner held the same job before being headhunted by Huddersfield in November 2015.
During the next three and a half years he defied limited resources to inspire a rise that lifted the Yorkshire club from the bottom half of the Championship to the Premier League, where they finished 16th in their first season in the top flight since 1972. Fighting against the odds proved more difficult this term and, with 22 matches played, Huddersfield are eight points behind 17th-placed Cardiff City.
In the absence of a full-time manager Rebbe would have led the club’s hunt for player reinforcements, along with the head of recruitment, Josh Marsh. Huddersfield need any signings to pay off quicker than last summer’s arrivals. One of the reasons for the club’s position is that none of the players brought in since last season have made a major impact. In particular, the scoring problems might not have been so acute – they have mustered only 13 league goals – if attackers such as Adama Diakhaby, Ramadan Sobhi and Isaac Mbenza had earned more than fleeting appearances since their arrival in the summer. Sobhi, signed from Stoke in June for over £5m, has been a particular disappointment and was loaned to Al Ahly in his native Egypt at the end of last month.
Rebbe was hired at the end of last season following a lengthy search for a replacement for David Moss, who, after joining from Celtic, served as the club’s head of football operations for just five months before leaving in October 2017.