Man Utd, Newcastle ‘swap deal’ involving Ashworth mooted as reporter reveals Ratcliffe ‘leverage’

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd Ashworth
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Dan Ashworth with Manchester United's badge.

According to reports, Manchester United and Newcastle United could ‘agree’ to a ‘swap deal’ involving sporting director Dan Ashworth.

It was confirmed earlier this year that Sir Jim Ratcliffe has purchased a 27.7% stake in Man Utd to become their new co-owner.

As part of this deal, the INEOS chief has taken control of footballing matters at Old Trafford and he’s making major changes ahead of the summer.

Omar Berrada and Jason Wilcox have already been drafted in as their new chief executive and technical director. Man Utd are also looking to acquire Ashworth, who would become their sporting director.

The 53-year-old has only been with Newcastle United since 2022 but he is understood to have a close relationship with Ratcliffe and has been placed on gardening leave after making it clear that he wants to move to Man Utd.

“At one stage, one side will blink…”

In recent months, Man Utd and Newcastle United have been in talks over a compensation package for Ashworth.

Man Utd are unwilling to meet Newcastle’s £20m asking price but it is expected that a compromise will be reached at some stage.

A report from Football Insider claims the two clubs ‘could agree a shock player swap deal’ to get Ashworth’s move to Old Trafford over the line.

Ex-Everton and Aston Villa CEO Keith Wyness expects Man Utd and Newcastle to “hammer it out” with a “player swap deal possible”.

“Man United are going to have to pay a negotiated settlement,” Wyness said during an interview with Football Insider.

👉 ‘Ridiculous’ Fred sale was Manchester United’s biggest mistake – and Ratcliffe is the ‘crap’ one
👉 Man Utd training ground turns ‘toxic’ after Ratcliffe slams ‘crap’ in club memo – ‘It was a disgrace’
👉 Ferdinand has already dismissed ‘ideal’ Man Utd appointment and Newcastle ‘frontrunner’ with £50m drivel

“At some stage, one side will blink and they’ll be in a room together – and they’ll hammer it out.

“It happens all the time in football. I can’t see why this is such a sticking point. Someone has to give, and someone has to take. That’s how the two clubs are going to get there.

“It could happen as part of something bigger, a player swap deal between the two clubs, possibly.

“It’s not abnormal to find a way around this problem, but Jim Ratcliffe is a newcomer. He’s got to get this done, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been done more quickly.”

The Independent reporter Miguel Delaney meanwhile claims Man Utd reckon they have “leverage” over Newcastle.

Delaney said: “Manchester United feel their leverage on the deal is starting to increase as Newcastle’s preference is to have the situation sorted in the next six weeks so that the income counts towards this cycle’s PSR rules.”

READ NEXT: Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the pre-woke holier-than-thou headteacher creating division at Man Utd

This season has been shambolic for Man Utd so Ratcliffe (and Erik ten Hag’s potential replacement) will have a lot of work to do ahead of next season.

Club legend Andy Cole thinks his former club are “so far away” from where they need to be.

“Sometimes I look at obviously the team now and the teams previously, and you do scratch your head,” Cole told reporters.

“You’ve got to understand what Manchester United is all about – it’s about winning, it’s about competing, it’s about being involved in and pushing for major honours, especially in the domestic game.

“We’re so far away. We keep saying ‘oh, another couple of years’, but it’s been longer than a couple of years. We’ve got to be brutally honest.

“When are Man United going to be involved in the title race? Who knows? And it is like that now.”