Dan Ashworth: Manchester United planning formal approach to Newcastle for sporting director

Man Utd planning to make a formal approach to Newcastle for sporting director Dan Ashworth; the 52-year-old is top of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s list to front up new football operation; Ashworth is open to the opportunity but Newcastle would be looking for significant compensation

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Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol looks at Manchester United’s expected formal approach for Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth

Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth has been approached by Manchester United.

It is understood the Magpies chief is top of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s list to front up his new football operation at Old Trafford, although there is yet to be formal contact between the two clubs.

It’s understood Ashworth is open to the move and Newcastle would be looking for significant compensation, given he only joined the club two years ago.

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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.

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.

Man Utd are now expecting clearance from the FA 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.

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Pete Smith and Dave Reed discuss Dan Ashworth’s possible move from Newcastle to Manchester United.

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 INEOS were the driving force behind the move.

The deal was done quickly so 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.

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.

Image: Dan Ashworth has overseen several key transfers including Alexis Mac Allister and Anthony Gordon

“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 into the best young English players so maybe we could see United buying them and young players from abroad.”

‘Newcastle will not let Ashworth go without a fight’

Analysis by Sky Sports News North East reporter Keith Downie:

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Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie claims Newcastle won’t lose sporting director Dan Ashworth to Man Utd without a fight but suggests the club will be looking for a quick resolution to the matter regardless.

“You have to remember that although he was appointed in February 2022, the first four or five months of that was spent on gardening leave, so he only really got his feet under the desk at Newcastle in June 2022.

“So he is less than two years into what is a huge rebuilding job at Newcastle, but you would suggest the rebuilding job is even bigger at Man Utd.

“As far as Newcastle is concerned, they would be very reluctant to lose him, he is a huge part of what they are trying to do right now. But like with a player transfer, if an individual agitates to leave and their head is turned, it may be difficult for Newcastle to hold on to him.

“The last thing they would want to do is drag this out. Remember, Dan Ashworth is privy to lots of sensitive transfer information and the noises coming out of the club are that they want this dealt with quickly, they do not want this to drag on.

“But they are now well aware that Man Utd are keen on bringing Ashworth in and they are braced for that formal approach to come, but they will not let Ashworth go without a fight, they will be looking for compensation and it may be that he will have to serve a period of gardening leave like we saw when he joined Newcastle from Brighton as well.

“For Newcastle, it would not be great in terms of optics losing someone of his stature to Man Utd, but sometimes these decisions are out of the hands of the powers that be at football clubs.”

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Sourse: skysports.com

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