Man Utd move step closer to getting Dan Ashworth in immediately as talks continue | Football | Sport


Manchester United are edging closer to appointing Dan Ashworth as their new sporting director, with Newcastle United reportedly hoping to speed up his exit. Ashworth has been targetted by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, with the British businessman keen to bring him on board as part of his plans to rebuild the off-field structure at Old Trafford.

It’s been a busy start to life at United for Ratcliffe, who after snatching future CEO Omar Berrada from rivals Manchester City, now looks on the verge of picking up another well-respected Premier League executive. Ashworth might’ve only taken up his role at St. James’ Park a little over two years ago, but it’s now suggested he could be departing the Magpies in the coming weeks.

As per a report by The Telegraph, Newcastle are keen to speed up Ashworth’s departure from the club, as they themselves look to press forward with plans to replace the English director. Paul Mitchell – the current Monaco sporting director – has been mooted as Newcastle’s ideal replacement, while Brentford’s Director of Football Phil Giles, West Ham United’s Tim Steidten and former Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto are also said to be potential options.

It’s claimed the compensation talks between Newcastle and United have been positive, with both parties having communicated their ideal outcomes amicably. But, it’s also reported the 2023 League Cup runners-up are still keen to land a hefty compensation fee for letting Ashworth leave for a Premier League rival.

It was previously suggested that Newcastle would hold out for a fee of £20million to reduce the length of Ashworth’s gardening leave, which is currently set to run until the end of 2025. Newcastle want to avoid Ashworth being in place at Old Trafford for the upcoming summer transfer window, because it’s expected the Magpies will be competing against United for similar targets.

Despite this, if a suitable compensation package is agreed, Newcastle are believed to be willing to cut Ashworth’s gardening leave short, meaning he would be free to link up with Ratcliffe and co. later on in the year, albeit still after the summer window. It would still represent a major boost for the INEOS project, as they look to turn United’s fortunes around after a dismal period under the Glazers.

How much immediate success they’re able to conjure up could depend on their league finish this season though, with qualification into the Champions League necessary in order to boost next season’s transfer kitty. Currently sixth in the table, eight points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, United could still qualify for Europe’s most prestigious competition even if they missed out on the top four, should the Premier League be granted another Champions League spot based on its coefficient ranking.

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