Dan Ashworth acts to ‘facilitate Man Utd move’ with ‘third party’ to ‘break impasse’ with Newcastle

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

According to reports, sporting director Dan Ashworth is ‘taking Newcastle United to arbitration’ to help ‘facilitate’ his move to Manchester United.

Newcastle snatched Ashworth from Premier League rivals Brighton in 2022 but he is already looking to leave St James’ Park amid interest from Man Utd.

The 53-year-old is regarded as one of the best sporting directors in football and he has been identified by INEOS chief and Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe as a top target as he attempts to overhaul their recruitment model.

Newcastle are unwilling to let Ashworth go easily as they are demanding £20m as part of a compensation package.

Man Utd are unwilling to meet this asking price but they have been in negotiations with their Premier League rivals over a compromise.

Earlier this week, a report from The Telegraph revealed Man Utd and Newcastle ‘remain £13m apart’. 

‘Newcastle want around £15 million plus a further £5 million in add-ons for Ashworth, who is currently on gardening leave after stepping down as the club’s sporting director in February amid the interest from Old Trafford.

‘United are proposing compensation around the £2 million mark, similar to the fee Newcastle paid to prise Ashworth away from Brighton two years ago and less than the £4 million reported at the time.

‘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.’

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Ashworth using ‘third party’ to ‘break impasse’…

The Athletic‘s David Ornstein provided an update on Thursday evening. He confirms that “there’s no agreement” between the two clubs so Ashworth is ‘taking’ his current club to arbitration to ‘facilitate his move’ and ‘break the impasse’.

‘Newcastle were seeking as much as £20million in compensation but with United unwilling to meet that figure the matter is now on course to be decided by a third party. It is anticipated the case will start in May and take a number of weeks.’

Ashworth wants to avoid being forced to see out his contract until the summer of 2026. Back in February, Ratcliffe claimed that it would be “completely absurd” to make him remain on the “sit in his garden for one a half years”.

“We’ve obviously had words with Newcastle. They would clearly be disappointed to lose Dan. But what I do think is completely absurd is suggesting a man who is really good at his job sits in his garden for one and a half years. That’s completely stupid.”

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