Man Utd: Ashworth’s four-man transfer wishlist revealed as one deal set to ‘happen quickly’

Joe Williams
Man Utd target Dan Ashworth
Dan Ashworth is Man Utd's new sporting director.

New Man Utd sporting director Dan Ashworth has identified four players he wants the Premier League club to sign this summer, according to reports.

The Red Devils are set for big changes over the summer after Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS completed a deal to buy 27.7 per cent of the Premier League club earlier this year.

Ratcliffe has appointed Omar Berrada as the club’s new CEO from arch-rivals Man City, while Jason Wilcox arrived mid-season as technical director to bolster the club’s hierarchy.

And Man Utd finally confirmed the appointment of Ashworth as sporting director from Newcastle after months of negotiations over a compensation fee.

The two clubs issued a joint statement on Monday announcing that Ashworth, who was placed on garden leave by the Magpies earlier this year amid interest from Man Utd, had been released from his contract at St James’ Park.

No compensation details have been disclosed but it is understood Ashworth will be able to begin his new role at Old Trafford with immediate effect.

The statement read: “Newcastle United and Manchester United have reached an agreement for the immediate release of Dan Ashworth from his contractual obligations at Newcastle United.

“The terms of this agreement remain confidential between the clubs. Newcastle United thanks Dan for his services and wishes him well for the future.”

The Red Devils’ interest in Ashworth became apparent after Ratcliffe’s INEOS company completed the purchase of a minority stake in the club and subsequently took over the running of the Red Devils’ football operations.

There were reports Newcastle were seeking £20m compensation to release Ashworth, a figure Ratcliffe described as “a bit silly” back in February, but a compromise has now been reached.

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And now the Daily Mail claims that Ashworth has four players on his transfer wishlist this summer with Man Utd now ‘expected to step up their transfer business’ after the appointment of the sporting director.

Ashworth and Man Utd want Bayern Munich defender ‘[Matthijs] De Ligt to play on the right side of central defence and have not given up hope of signing Branthwaite to play alongside him on the left if they can sell players to raise the funds.’

The new sporting director will also ‘look to bring in a striker and defensive midfielder as well’ with the report adding: ‘Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee, who has a £34m buyout clause, is the No.1 striker target while Paris Saint-Germain’s Manuel Ugarte is among the midfield options being considered.’

And in the latest on De Ligt, Sky Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg has claimed that a transfer to Man Utd could now “happen quickly” for the Netherlands international.

Plettenberg wrote on X: “It can happen quickly after the Euros if Manchester United put the right offer on the table. Bayern want at least €50m plus bonus payments as revealed. Understand there are officials at #MUFC who are surprised that Bayern would let De Ligt go.

“De Ligt, keen to join ManUtd as Ten Hag made clear to him that he really wants him! Vincent Kompany with other plans next season.”