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Newcastle place Ashworth on gardening leave after request to join Man Utd

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Newcastle United sporting director, Dan Ashworth has requested to depart Newcastle United and has subsequently been placed on gardening leave, amid interest from Manchester United to appoint him as their sporting director.

The decision by Ashworth to leave Newcastle United was communicated on Sunday. 

Reports from The Athletic indicate that Manchester United has identified Ashworth as their top target for the sporting director role and have approached him accordingly.

However, complications arise due to Ashworth’s existing contract with Newcastle United. The club is demanding £20 million in compensation should Manchester United secure his services. As Ashworth remains under contract, Newcastle United would continue to pay his full salary during his gardening leave if they wish to prevent him from leaving.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are willing to exercise patience in negotiations, considering Ashworth’s significance as a long-term appointment. They are cautious not to succumb to pressure and overpay for his services.

While formal contact between the clubs is pending, it is expected to occur soon.

Ashworth’s tenure at Newcastle United began after he resigned from his position as technical director at Brighton & Hove Albion in February 2022. 

His move to Brighton followed his role as technical director at the Football Association, where he played a pivotal role in the development of both men’s and women’s national teams.

Ashworth is highly regarded for his expertise in player recruitment and the establishment of high-performance structures, qualities that Manchester United values greatly.

These potential developments coincide with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of INEOS, agreeing to purchase a 25% stake in Manchester United from the Glazer family. The deal, pending closure of the tender offer, has received approval from both the Premier League and the FA.

Manchester United has already announced Ratcliffe’s involvement and the impending arrival of Omar Berrada as their new chief executive, with further appointments expected, including INEOS CEO Jean-Claude Blanc and director of sport Sir David Brailsford, to the club’s board.

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