Man Utd 'look to poach' second key figure to join 'number one target' Dan Ashworth

Newcastle United sporting director Dan AshworthNewcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth
Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth
Manchester United have made Dan Ashworth their top target as they scout a new sporting director.

Manchester United are circling Premier League rivals Newcastle United as they look to poach Dan Ashworth as their new sporting director. The Reds Devils have made the 52-year-old their 'number one target' as the club prepare for a new era with Sir Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS group close to finalising a 25 percent minority takeover.

Ashworth is reportedly open to the idea of the move and recent updates suggest the situation is expected to progress quickly. Should a deal with Newcastle materialise, he will be given a big responsibility at United right away. According to ESPN, Ashworth will be presented with the task of 'rebuilding United's scouting department' and Sam Jewell, Brighton and Hove Albion's head of recruitment, has been earmarked as the 'leading candidate' to spearhead the new structure.

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No formal move has been made for Jewell — who is the son of former player and manager Paul Jewell — but he is said to be rated highly by Ashworth, and INEOS have already identified his success on the south coast.

Ashworth worked with Jewell at Brighton after he joined the club as technical director in 2019 until 2022, when he left for Newcastle. Prior to this, Ashworth was credited for his efforts with the Football Association, working on changes to aid the results of the men's and women's national teams.

As for Jewell, he was a key figure in Brighton's significant profit-making from Alexis Mac Allister and Moisés Caicedo, who both left last summer. Mac Allister signed in 2019 from Argentinos Juniors, with the Seagulls paying a reported £6.9 million. He was sold to Liverpool last June for £35 million.

The Caicedo transfer saga is the most impressive, though. In 2021, Brighton signed the prospect talent from Ecuadorian outfit Independiente del Valle for just £4.5 million. After interest from both Liverpool and Chelsea last summer, Caicedo joined the latter in an eye-watering British record sum of £115 million. United were also reportedly scouting the midfielder prior to his move to Brighton.

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The latest reports claim that Newcastle are aware of Ashworth's interest in joining United and once official contact is made they will 'demand compensation before sanctioning a move'. Ashworth will be expected to complete up to 12 months gardening leave, but this could be reduced if the Reds make an additional payment.

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