Newcastle confirm major Dan Ashworth decision amid Man Utd interest

Manchester United remain hopeful of securing Dan Ashworth's arrival.
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Newcastle United have announced sporting director Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave.

The move comes amid interest from Manchester United, with the club keen to hire Ashworth as their new sporting director. Reports on Monday morning claimed Newcastle would demand a fee of £20m to allow Ashworth to leave his position early, and that he has been blocking him from the club's internal systems.

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The Magpies subsequently released a statement on Monday afternoon confirming that Ashworth wants to leave the club: “Newcastle United can announce that Dan Ashworth has commenced a period of gardening leave."

Darren Eales, Newcastle United CEO, added: "We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn't stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

"We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future."

ManchesterWorld reported last week that Ashworth is United’s primary target to take up the position of sporting director, with the Red Devils willing to wait if need be in order to secure his appointment. No official offer has yet been lodged by the Red Devils and they do not plan to pay an eight-digit fee to hire the former FA director of elite development, who has been identified by Sir Jim Ratcliffe as he begins to assemble his ‘best-in-class’ line-up at Old Trafford.

The Ineos lead shareholder has already pinched Omar Berrada from Manchester City and hopes to bring in Southampton's Jason Wilcox in a recruitment role.

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