Man Utd planning approach for Newcastle sporting director Ashworth

Manchester United are planning to make a formal approach to Newcastle for sporting director Dan Ashworth.

It is understood the Newcastle chief is top of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s list to front up his new football operation at Old Trafford, although no formal approach has yet been made.

Newcastle would be reluctant to let Ashworth leave but the 52-year-old is privately open to exploring the potential opportunity to join Man Utd.

Who is Dan Ashworth?

  • Ashworth became West Brom’s sporting and technical director in December 2007.
  • He joined the FA as director of elite development in 2012 and played a key role in the success of both the men’s and women’s national teams.
  • In 2019 he became technical director at Brighton before leaving in February 2022 to become sporting director at Newcastle.

Newcastle are bracing themselves for a formal approach, but agreeing compensation to secure Ashworth’s services would be problematic after he only joined Newcastle two years ago.

Man Utd would ideally want him in place this summer to oversee their transfer overhaul as INEOS take control over the football operation.

The interest in Ashworth comes after the Premier League and the Football Association both approved Ratcliffe’s proposed bid to buy a minority stake in the club.

Image: Ashworth has been sporting director at Newcastle since February 2022

Man Utd are now expecting clearance from the Football Association as British billionaire Ratcliffe, who is the owner of multinational chemicals company INEOS, closes in on completion of his deal to buy 25 per cent of the club.

Ratcliffe agreed a deal in December to buy a stake worth roughly £1.2bn and has been conducting a series of meetings with club staff and associates in recent days.

A potential move for Ashworth follows the appointment of Omar Berrada from rivals Manchester City as the club’s new chief executive.

Sky Sports News understands the appointment was made by Ratcliffe in consultation with Joel and Avram Glazer but that INEOS were the driving force behind the move.

The deal was done quickly so that Berrada can be in place as soon as possible after Ratcliffe’s deal to buy 25 per cent of Man Utd has been completed.

‘The best in the business’ – who is Dan Ashworth?

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

“It is very significant because Jim Ratcliffe is not wasting any time at Manchester United. He’s already brought in Sir Dave Brailsford, who’s conducting a review of the whole club. He’s already appointed Omar Berrada as a new chief executive who used to have a senior role at Manchester City.

“But the key role that fans want filled is this sporting director role because it is no secret in football that Manchester United haven’t been performing very well in the transfer market and Dan Ashworth is somebody who has an absolutely brilliant record at West Brom, Brighton and also at Newcastle.

Dan Ashworth
Image: Ashworth is privately open to exploring the potential opportunity to join Man Utd

“He also did exceptional work when he was at the Football Association, bringing through a whole new young England team while working very closely with Gareth Southgate.

“He’s got a reputation as being the best in the business as far as English football is concerned, and I think it would be a big coup if Manchester United were able to get him from Newcastle.

“Sometimes when it comes to transfers, you can overstate how much one person is responsible for making those signings, so I don’t know if Dan Ashworth was responsible for signing Moises Caicedo at Brighton for £4.5m, Kaoru Mitoma for £2.5m and Alexis MacAllister for around £6m.

“At Newcastle, Bruno Guimaraes, Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon – they’ve made some really good signings. I’m not saying that’s all down to Dan Ashworth, but he has been the man in charge, he’s been the sporting director, so you have to say when you look at his CV, when you look at his track record and compare it to what has been a real hit and miss sort of recruitment operation at Manchester United recently, you would have to say this is a very positive move if it comes off.

“I’ve had some dealings with him, especially when he used to work at the Football Association. He’s a very impressive character. He knows English football inside out and I think he’s also very plugged in to the best young English players so maybe we could see United buying them and young players from abroad.”

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Source : Sky Sports