Dan Ashworth latest: Man Utd position explained as club react to £10m suggestion

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Manchester United are also hopeful in appointing Jason Wilcox in a recruitment role.

Manchester United want to appoint Dan Ashworth as soon as possible and will not be put off by Newcastle United’s excessive asking price.

Reports that the Magpies will request a fee north of £10m for the 52-year-old are unlikely to put Ineos off their approach for Ashworth, albeit the club do not expect to pay anywhere near that figure, which they feel is an unrealistic asking price.

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe has identified Ashworth as the primary choice for the role of sporting director once his purchase of a minority stake is confirmed. That is expected to be next week after the Premier League and Football Association approved his investment this week, and now the last major step is the purchase of 25 percent of the club’s Class-A shares.

For now, no approach has been made for Ashworth, who is keen on a move to Manchester, but the Red Devils are readying an official offer for the former FA director of elite development. United want the appointment to be concluded quickly, but would bide their time if necessary, in order to secure their primary target.

If Ashworth is appointed, he will report to new CEO Omar Berrada, who is on gardening leave at present after it was announced last month that he is leaving rivals Manchester City. Berrada is expected to start work at United this summer, and has provided Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford with his assessment of the changes needed at Old Trafford.

As the Ineos era begins to take shape at United, it is understood the club are also keen on hiring Southampton’s director of football Jason Wilcox in a recruitment role. The former Leeds United midfielder is well known by Berrada from their time at City, and their relationship is believed to have played a role in him being outlined as a possible addition at Old Trafford.

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Like with Ashworth, United have not made an official approach for Wilcox, and it’s understood that news of the club’s interest took Southampton by surprise on Thursday.

Amid all the potential incomings, there is uncertainty surrounding one possible outgoing at boardroom level. John Murtough’s position remains under scrutiny, especially with Ashworth being sounded out for a similar role to the one he currently carries out. The club’s director of football was at Carrington on Thursday and it’s believed he will discuss his position with Ashworth if the Newcastle chief is appointed.

For now, the focus is on Sunday’s game at Luton Town, which is likely to be the last before Ratcliffe’s investment is confirmed. Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Ten Hag said it’s important that everyone at United is singing from the same hymn sheet.

“You feel that ambition [from Ineos] and it brings a mood and brings a spirit in this club which belongs to this club. I think the players, the staff are very aligned with the ambitions of Ineos because that’s why they are here, that's why we’re playing for Man United.  “We want to win and achieve the highest. We are very aligned, we have to make strategies and we have to execute strategies to prove the ambitions.

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“It is one of the most important factors to develop a good team, that you have the right players but also the right characters,” he added. “I am happy now, in this construction and when things change they [Ineos] will tell me. But in a club as Manchester United you can’t do everything alone, it is impossible, you need very good people around you.”

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