That’s according to a report by The Mirror, who claim that the Spaniard is one of the names on Todd Boehly’s shortlist for the vacant sporting director position at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues said to be stepping up their efforts to appoint a target with a fresh round of interviews next week.
The report goes on to state that, after being turned down by both former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards and Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund, Boehly and fellow controlling owner Behdad Eghbali are now lining up talks with Orta, as well as Atalanta’s Lee Congerton, Sevilla’s Monchi and Benfica’s Rui Pedro Braz.
Considering the simply sensational job Orta has done at Leeds following his appointment at Elland Road back in 2017, should the 43-year-old go on to seal a move to Chelsea, it would undoubtedly represent a disaster for Andrea Radrizzani and the Italian’s long-term vision for the future of the Whites.
While Orta has brought in a number of first-team stars during his five-year spell in LS11 – with some of his most notable additions being the £1.5m Mateusz Klich, the £7m Patrick Bamford, the £11m Jack Harrison, the £17m Raphinha and the £22m Luis Sinisterra – it is undoubtedly the Spaniard’s eye for signing exciting youth prospects that is one of his biggest talents.
Indeed, the 43-year-old has managed to complete deals for the likes of Joe Gelhardt, Crysencio Summerville, Illan Meslier, Sam Greenwood, Darko Gyabi, Sonny Perkins and Wilfried Gnonto during his reign at Elland Road.
Almost all of these players are either excelling for the Whites U21 side or have already established themselves in Jesse Marsch’s first-team squad – not to mention the vast majority now boasting extremely impressive market valuations.
These deals have seen Orta come in for significant praise, with David Norris stating of the Spaniard last year:
“He deserves massive credit. They must do loads of research, background checks, watch the players and find out all their personal stuff to make sure they’re the right fit for the club. Orta is a massive part of that so a lot of credit will go to him when it comes to the players coming in.”
Furthermore, the former Middlesbrough director of football has also enjoyed success in the loan market, signing an unknown Ben White on a temporary basis just two years before his £50m move to Arsenal, while also bringing Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah to LS11 on a loan deal back in 2019/20 – with the 23-year-old now being a first-team regular under Mikel Arteta.
As such, should Leeds go on to lose the services of the Spaniard to Chelsea, not only would it impact the club’s approach to the upcoming transfer windows, but it could also see the steady flow of impressive youth additions begin to dry up – something that would undoubtedly come as a devastating blow to the long-term planning of the club’s hierarchy.
So, while the lure of what is likely to be both a bigger salary and a much larger budget to work with may be too tempting an offer for the 43-year-old to turn down, it is nevertheless clear to see that Radrizzani simply must do all he can to keep hold of the ace who Conor McGilligan claimed has “done a phenomenal job” at Leeds.