Ashworth on gardening leave amid Man Utd interest

19 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Dan AshworthDan Ashworth became Newcastle’s sporting director in 2022

Newcastle United’s sporting director Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave after telling the club he wants to join Manchester United.

Manchester United are targeting Ashworth to join their Ineos-inspired overhaul of the club.

However, it is not thought talks between the clubs have started yet.

Newcastle have Ashworth under contract, which prevents the 52-year-old from working for anyone else into 2025 unless compensation is agreed.

Newcastle believe they will be within their rights to ask Manchester United for a fee well in excess of £10m.

The Old Trafford outfit, on the other hand, are determined they will not be held to ransom.

Ashworth has established a reputation as one of the best sporting directors in the game. However, there have been some suggestions from St James’ Park he is at least partly responsible for the £55m signing of Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali from AC Milan in July.

Tonali made just 12 appearances for Newcastle before he was banned for 10 months after breaching gambling regulations in Italy, meaning he will be unable to play until August.

If Ineos, whose 25% ownership of Manchester United is set to be confirmed this week, do agree a deal for Ashworth then it would be another significant move by them.

It is understood Ashworth is keen on a move to Old Trafford, having established a relationship with Ineos head of sport Sir Dave Brailsford during his time in a previous role at the Football Association (FA).

Ashworth was credited with England’s phenomenal success at youth level in 2017, when they won both the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups.

He then helped to shape Brighton’s rise up the Premier League through the appointment of Graham Potter as manager after Chris Hughton was sacked.

Ashworth served a period of leave when he left Brighton before joining Newcastle in 2022.

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