Man Utd, Newcastle remain significantly ‘apart’ in Ashworth ‘negotiations’ as ‘private’ claim emerges

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd target Dan Ashworth
Dan Ashworth is wanted by Man Utd as their new sporting director.

According to reports, Manchester United and Newcastle United remain significantly ‘apart’ in their negotiations for sporting director Dan Ashworth.

Man Utd are in the process of overhauling their recruitment model ahead of next season following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a minority stake in the Premier League giants.

Omar Berrada has been brought in from Manchester City to become their new chief executive and it was confirmed last week that Jason Wilcox is leaving Southampton to join Man Utd as their technical director.

The Red Devils are also eyeing Ashworth, who has been Newcastle’s sporting director since 2022.

Ashworth was identified as a top target by Newcastle following PIF’s takeover but he has a close relationship with Ratcliffe and is keen to join Man Utd.

The 53-year-old has been placed on gardening leave by Newcastle, who are demanding a huge compensation package of around £20m.

Unsurprisingly, Man Utd are unwilling to meet this asking price and they have been in talks with their Premier League rivals over a compromise.

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Man Utd, Newcastle remain far ‘apart’

According to a report from The Telegraph, Man Utd are still ‘at least £13 million apart from Newcastle.

It is noted that Newcastle ‘want around £15 million plus a further £5 million in add-ons for Ashworth’, but Man Utd are ‘proposing compensation around the £2 million mark, similar to the fee paid to prise him away from Brighton two years ago and less than the £4 million reported at the time’.

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The report also claims Man Utd would only be ‘willing to pay a small uplift on that £2m figure’ and they have made a ‘private’ claim about their pursuit of Ashworth.

‘Unless there is a significant softening of Newcastle’s stance, there is little expectation at Old Trafford of Ashworth starting before the summer but they are prepared to sit tight if necessary.

‘It is understood United would be willing to pay a small uplift on that £2 million figure if there was the prospect of bringing in Ashworth before the summer but they have no intention of being strong-armed.

‘United confirmed the appointment of Jason Wilcox as technical director on Friday after agreeing a compensation package with Southampton and are prepared to wait until the autumn or end of the calendar year if necessary for Ashworth.

‘Privately, United – who are operating to a tight budget this summer – feel that the extra £10 million-plus it might take solely to shorten Ashworth’s gardening leave would be better invested in playing talent.

‘Wilcox will take the lead on this summer’s transfer window and, should Ashworth not be in place by then, the former Blackburn winger will be assisted by chief executive Omar Berrada, who worked closely with Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain and is skilled himself in football negotiation and recruitment.’

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