Former key Preston North End figure 'targeted' by Premier League clubs

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The 39-year-old played a key role at Preston North End, bringing more than a dozen players to Deepdale.

Former Preston North End figure Joe Savage is reportedly being targeted for roles at numerous Premier League clubs.

Savage was the head of recruitment and chief scout at Deepdale from the summer of 2017 to January 2021. He was part of Alex Neil's staff with the pair having previously worked together at Hamilton Academical as well as Norwich City and remained at the club for a few months after Neil's sacking.

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Under his stewardship he made 23 signings of which Brad Potts, Patrick Bauer and Ryan Ledson are still part of the first-team picture at Preston.

Since January 2021 he has been the sporting director of Scottish Premiership side Hearts, and now there are clubs who reportedly want to take him away from Edinburgh. It is reported by the Daily Mail that several clubs from the top-flight of English football are targeting Savage for a potential role at their club.

Several teams in England are looking for people similar to fill roles that Savage is currently doing. Sam Jewell went to Brighton to Chelsea and both Jason Wilcox and Dan Ashworth are expected to make the move to Manchester United from Southampton and Newcastle United respectively.

Hearts are currently third in the Scottish Premiership and hold an 11-point lead over fourth-placed Kilmarnock as they make a push for Europa League football. The Jambo's reached the play-off round of the Europa Conference League this season losing to Greek giants PAOK and last year qualified for the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2004.

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Savage has come under some criticism on social media for his role at Hearts, but he addressed that and said last to the Hearts Standard: "I’m not on social media but I hear it, I see it, I know it’s there. I know there is a pressure on me. One of the fans made sure to tell me there is a thread on (Jambos) Kickback about me, whether I should stay or I should go.

"I’m thinking that is really interesting because these are the pressures of the job people don’t tell you. Everyone says to you ‘don’t read it’. But it is not happening to you when they say don’t read it or don’t listen to it. You can’t help it, it is there.

"I’m quite comfortable showing this vulnerability. I think people need to hear this job is not all rosy, it’s not me going home, sitting with my feet up and lighting a cigar saying ‘what a day I’ve had today’.

"Decisions you need to make everyday are hard. You’ve got things with budgets, things with salary increases, bonuses, people wanting this, agents wanting to move their players. You are saying not for that money and that agent is falling out with you.

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"You’ve to deal with so much every single day and at times you feel you are a glorified head of recruitment because you get judged on signing players but that’s not the role. That’s all I ever get when I’m out.”

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