March 30, 2024

Man Utd ‘settle on new sporting director’ as Newcastle dig heels in over Dan Ashworth | Football | Sport

The Red Devils are undergoing significant off-field change after Ratcliffe sealed a £1.3billion deal for a 27.7 per cent stake and control of football operations in February.

Omar Berrada will join from Manchester City as the club’s new chief executive this summer. A sporting director, technical director and performance director are expected to follow.

Ashworth was identified for the sporting director position, which he served at Newcastle from June 2022 until February.

He was placed on gardening leave after expressing his desire to join Ratcliffe’s project at Old Trafford, potentially delaying his arrival until next year.

The summer transfer window represents a crucial period at the start of the INEOS era, so the risk of not having a sporting director in place has sparked suggestions that United could look at alternatives.

However, Fabrizio Romano reports that United are settled with their decision to pursue Ashworth and won’t change their plans because Newcastle are digging their heels in.

He claims that the two clubs remain in contact over the 53-year-old, but there is no expected date for a resolution.

Newcastle paid Brighton and Hove Albion around £4m in compensation to lure him to St James’ Park just two years ago. The Magpies are demanding £20m now, which United refuse to pay.

After officially becoming United’s new football kingpin earlier this year, Ratcliffe didn’t hold back when sharing his opinion about Newcastle’s stance.

“A bit silly, personally. I won’t get dragged into that,” the 71-year-old tycoon explained.

“What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting a man who is really good at his job sits in his garden for one and a half years.

“We had a very grown-up conversation with City about Omar Berrada. When things got done, we sorted it out very amicably. They could see why he wanted to take that challenge.

“You look at Pep and when he’s done with one of his footballers: he doesn’t want them to sit in the garden for one and a half years. He doesn’t do that. That’s not the way the UK works or the law works.”

Berrada will reportedly helm negotiations until Ashworth arrives at Old Trafford, while John Murtough is still recognised as football director.


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