Man Utd ‘blunder’ could ‘breach contract’ as report reveals Ashworth ‘tapping up’ Newcastle email gaffe

Jason Soutar
Man Utd target Dan Ashworth looks on during a match
Dan Ashworth looks on during a match

Dan Ashworth reportedly ‘inadvertently’ emailed Newcastle United revealing incoming Manchester United chief executive Omar Berrada was tapping him up.

Sporting director Ashworth was placed on gardening leave in February after telling the Magpies he wanted to leave after 20 months to join Manchester United.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe quickly made Ashworth a priority addition and has insisted he will not meet Newcastle’s financial demands, believed to be in the region of £20million.

The new United co-owner described the prospect of Ashworth facing up to 18 months in limbo under the terms of his contract with the Magpies as “completely stupid”.

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Ratcliffe has brought in lots of new faces as he looks to turn things around at Old Trafford, most notably landing Berrada from rivals Manchester City.

Following the additions of Berrada – who does not officially join the Old Trafford club until mid-July – and Jason Wilcox, among others, Ratcliffe is still working on a deal to bring in Ashworth as his new sporting director.

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Unfortunately for Ratcliffe, there is more drama in the Ashworth saga.

According to a report from the Daily Mail, the 53-year-old ‘sent an email to a Newcastle address inadvertently revealing he was being tapped up by Berrada’.

This ’embarrassing blunder and error of judgement’ from both ‘could be looked at by the Premier League’, with Berrada on gardening leave from Man City and not officially working for Man Utd.

Following a conversation in early February between Ashworth and Berrada, the former sent an email to the latter – ‘at an INEOS account’ – stating that he wanted to join the Red Devils.

In a huge error, Ashworth ‘sent a blind copy to his own Newcastle address’, which ‘disclosed the covert negotiations with Berrada’, at a point in which Man Utd had not informed Newcastle of their interest.

Berrada has ‘potentially breached the terms of his contract’ as he had only been on gardening leave from City for less than a month, the report adds.

And in a potential ‘breach of confidentiality to Newcastle and Brighton’, Ashworth ‘also disclosed details to Berrada of the agreement between Newcastle and Brighton that took him to St James’ Park in the summer of 2022’. Oh, mate…

These people, who Ratcliffe described as ‘capable’ during a rant about his failure to land Ashworth, ‘were potentially breaching Premier League guidelines’, which has ‘increased chatter in football circles of Ratlciffe not understanding how the industry works’.

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Furthermore, the British billionaire ‘has angered Man Utd employees by removing staff perks around the FA Cup final and banning working from home, upsetting some within the club’.

The report adds: ‘The Premier League rule book states that each club, director and official should behave towards each other with the ‘utmost good faith’ and it would be a breach if they were to ‘act dishonestly towards another club’ or ‘engage in conduct that is intended to circumvent these rules’.’

Ashworth did tell Newcastle of his desire to leave on February 18 and was placed on gardening leave as a result.

Ratcliffe has previously suggested that this period ends near the end of 2025, leaving him desperate to bring him in sooner.

Unfortunately for the Man Utd co-owner, Newcastle are refusing to budge ‘for what they see as a fair offer to release Ashworth from his gardening leave’.

The report adds that Newcastle, Man Utd and Man City all ‘declined to comment’ when ‘contacted’.

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