'A big step forward for us' - Newcastle close in on Dan Ashworth replacement as Manchester United deal on hold

Dan Ashworth has been on gardening leave since February as United work on a deal for himDan Ashworth has been on gardening leave since February as United work on a deal for him
Dan Ashworth has been on gardening leave since February as United work on a deal for him | NUFC TV
Man Utd identified Dan Ashworth as their only choice to become their new sporting director under Ineos.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has confirmed he has been consulted over the sporting director position at St. James' Park as the club close in on appointing a replacement for Dan Ashworth.

ManchesterWorld reported last month Phil Giles, Tiago Pinto and Paul Mitchell had all been heavily discussed for the role but it is Dougie Freedman who has emerged as a top target for the position. Freedman has been Palace’s sporting director since 2017 having previously spent time at the club as a player and manager. He has overseen some impressive signings during his time at Selhurst Park including a loan deal for Conor Gallagher and the permanent transfers of Marc Guehi, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Andersen.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Magpies have been searching for a replacement for Ashworth, who was placed on gardening leave in February after signalling his intention to join Manchester United. As things stand, Ashworth will remain on gardening leave until the end of 2025 unless United can agree a suitable compensation package with Newcastle to release him from his contract.

United believe a deal close to what Newcastle paid to release Ashworth from his previous contract at Brighton & Hove Albion in 2022 would be fair, but they want to see a significant return on their investment should he join a rival club. With negotiations currently at an impasse, it’s understood Ashworth is set to take Newcastle to arbitration in order to facilitate his switch to Old Trafford. Sir Jim Ratcliffe previously labelled Newcastle’s demands as “absurd” and “completely stupid”.

Two weeks ago, Howe insisted he hadn’t been consulted regarding the sporting director position but when asked the same question on Friday, he replied “yes” before adding: ‘I’ve spoken to respective people involved in the process. I haven’t been involved in any of the early stages. I’m coming in from the side, so it’s difficult for me to give an opinion. But I have been consulted and I think that’s important.”

When quizzed specifically on Freedman, he added: “I’ve got no idea on that, I’m not involved in the day-to-day aspect of recruiting that person whoever that may be, I’m just doing my job. But when that is decided by the club, it’ll be a big step forward for us.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.