Man Utd news: ‘Reason’ for Ashworth, Newcastle delay emerges despite Ratcliffe ‘leverage’

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

Manchester United are not at fault as a report has revealed the ‘reason’ why a deal with Newcastle United for Dan Ashworth is yet to be finalised.

Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave by Newcastle as he has expressed his desire to join Premier League rivals Manchester United.

The 53-year-old has been lauded as one of the finest sporting directors in the world but he has only been with Newcastle since 2022. He joined them from Brighton after Saudi-backed PIF completed its takeover of the Premier League outfit.

The current Newcastle chief is understood to have a close relationship with new Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is keen to work with him at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe is in the process of overseeing a mass overhaul at Old Trafford as several figures from the previous regime have already left, with chief executive Omar Berrada and technical director Jason Wilcox recruited ahead of next season.

Ashworth is viewed as the final piece of Man Utd’s new-look recruitment team and they are expected to eventually land their top target.

Newcastle have made it difficult for Man Utd to get Ashworth as they are demanding a £20m fee for the director. The Red Devils are unsurprisingly unwilling to match this asking price but a compromise is likely to be reached in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, The Independent‘s Miguel 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.”

Ashworth out, Freedman in?

While talks remain ongoing over a compensation package, Newcastle have been working in the background to identify Ashworth’s replacement and it’s emerged that Crystal Palace supremo Dougie Freedman is a leading candidate.

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According to a new report from i, the recent absence of Yasir Al-Rumayyan has delayed the Ashworth deal.

‘The presence of Yasir Al-Rumayyan on Tyneside last week was interesting. The Saudi PIF governor, and Newcastle chairman, is hands off at St James’ Park but sources suggest “things start moving” when he is in town. Whether recruitment and stadium plans will gather pace now remains to be seen but talks with the first major target of the summer – Tosin Adarabioyo – accelerated in the week he was visiting.

‘Indeed i has been told that he is one of the reasons why a deal has not yet been brokered with Manchester United for the services of Dan Ashworth. Be it belligerence or a warning shot that this version of Newcastle will not accommodate rivals, the message is clear: we aren’t here to make friends.’

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