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Newcastle place Dan Ashworth on gardening leave amid interest from Man United

Newcastle place Dan Ashworth on gardening leave amid interest from Man United

Newcastle United have confirmed that sporting director Dan Ashworth has commenced a period of gardening leave amid concrete interest from Manchester United.

This comes after the Englishman informed the Magpies of his desire to join the project at United, who have identified Ashworth as their primary target for the sporting director role.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, whose 25% stake at United was ratified by the Premier League last week but is still subject to the Football Association’s approval, has already begun restructuring the recruitment team at Old Trafford.

The INEOS chairman is a huge fan of Ashworth’s work at St James’ Park and is determined to get a deal over the line, although United will be required to pay a compensation fee.

Ashowrth’s contract with Newcastle runs until 2025, so the Magpies believe they’re well within their rights to demand significant compensation.

They want around £20 million to release their highly respected director, but United are unlikely to meet their demands, and negotiations will take place in the coming days.

Newcastle have placed Ashworth on a 20-month gardening leave and United may have to stump up an unprecedented fee if they want Ashworth to join sooner than later.

“We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave,” Newcastle CEO Darren Eales said.

“However, our exciting journey doesn’t stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

“We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future.”

Newcastle won’t let their director go without a fight, but it appears United are ready to go the distance to land their man.

Further changes are expected in the boardroom, with Ratcliffe also keen to appoint Southampton’s director of football Jason Wilcox and Brighton & Hove Albion’s head of recruitment Sam Jewell.

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