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Other SportsManchester United: Eales confident Newcastle can still progress without Ashworth

Manchester United: Eales confident Newcastle can still progress without Ashworth

Newcastle United CEO Darren Eales has insisted the club’s “exciting journey doesn’t stop” after confirming sporting director Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave.

Ashworth has asked to join Manchester United and the clubs will now begin the process of negotiating compensation with Newcastle reportedly seeking a fee of more than £10million.

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The Magpies have been upwardly mobile since being taken over by PIF in 2021, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund investing heavily in new players that helped the club finish fourth last season.

They haven’t hit those heights this term, and currently sit eighth in the Premier League table, but Eales is confident Ashworth’s departure will not derail their long-term ambitions.

He told the club’s official website: “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.”

Ashworth asked to leave St James’ Park to join the Jim Ratcliffe revolution at United.

Ratcliffe, whose Ineos group has paid more than £1billion for its 25 per cent stake in the club, is expected to oversee significant change at Old Trafford, with key roles for Dave Brailsford, the man best known for helping to revive British cycling, and Ashworth.

Ashworth to United ‘a difficult one’

Speaking on Friday, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said the club had received “no contact” from United.

“It’s been in the news a lot and usually that means something is going to happen,” added Howe.

“It’s an unusual situation – usually there is transfer speculation on players. This is different. Whatever happens, we want a quick resolution.

“It’s a difficult one. You need longevity in that role to see the fruits of your labour. It’s a long-term position.

“The people that have done it best in the Premier League have always had a period of stability.

“Change takes a long time at a football club to get the processes how you want them to be. Dan’s had a short time here.”

Signings overseen by Ashworth have included Moises Caicedo, who joined Brighton for £4.5m and went on to sign for Chelsea for a British-record £115m, and £60m Newcastle record signing Alexander Isak.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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