Man Utd edge closer to Dan Ashworth capture as Newcastle land on ‘excellent’ replacement

Manchester United have been given a boost in their hunt to land prospective new sporting director Dan Ashworth, as Newcastle United are ‘advancing in talks’ with his replacement, according to a trusted source.

Soon after arriving at Old Trafford, INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe decided on Ashworthas his top target to replace John Murtough as sporting director. Ratcliffe had been particularly impressed by the excellent work Ashworth had done at Brighton, helping the club make big profits through player sales while also establishing themselves as a top-10 Premier League club.

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However, Ratcliffe’s first approach for the 53-year-old chief was met with fury. That is because Newcastle captured Ashworth in May 2022 and expected him to head up their long-term project, which is aimed at taking regular silverware to St James’ Park.

Ashworth was put on gardening leave in February as the two clubs thrashed out terms. Newcastle have told Man Utd to pay a whopping £20million, though Ratcliffe is unlikely to meet that sum.

Ratcliffe feels Man Utd are in a strong position as Newcastle will not want to continue paying Ashworth his full wage when he is not doing his job on Tyneside.

On April 25, David Ornstein revealed that Ashworth is ready to take Newcastle to the arbitration court to try and resolve his future.

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Newcastle have appeared stubborn up to this point, though they are preparing for life without the former England director.

As per Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle are ‘advancing’ towards the appointment of Dougie Freedman, the current sporting director at Crystal Palace.

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Magpies chiefs have been impressed by the ‘excellent’ job Freedman has done at Palace, helping the club complete clever deals for Michael Olise, Ebere Eze, Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen.

It is now ‘up to Freedman’ to decide what he wants to do next in his career. He can either continue his great work at Palace or try a new challenge by working with Eddie Howe at Newcastle.

While Newcastle are currently tussling with Financial Fair Play concerns, they will have big money to spend in the long run. This could convince Freedman to make the switch.

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