Liverpool reach agreement with former Arsenal man as Manchester United eye Newcastle United deal

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Newcastle United were linked with Eddie Howe's former colleague before his switch to Liverpool.

Liverpool have confirmed the appointment of Richard Hughes as their new sporting director, a position he will take up at the end of the 2023-24 campaign.

Hughes announced earlier this month he was stepping down as AFC Bournemouth's technical director this summer following a lengthy association with the South Coast outfit.

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And having previously worked with Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe at Bournemouth, Hughes was perhaps unsurprisingly linked with the sporting director job at St James' Park in light of Dan Ashworth being placed on gardening leave.

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However, Hughes has swiftly been ruled out of the list of contenders after his switch to Anfield was confirmed. The 51-year-old begins his role on June 1 and teams up with Michael Edwards, who was recently named Fenway Sports Group’s CEO of Football.

Commenting on his new position, Hughes said: “I am incredibly proud to be offered this opportunity. Liverpool FC is a unique club and I’m grateful to be given a chance to serve it in this capacity.

“People rightly talk about the rich history this organisation can boast, but it is the present and future which really excites me. Jurgen Klopp is leading an outstanding team and squad and alongside that the commitment to young players and their pathway to the first team is also outstanding.

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“I am fully aware of the expectations and responsibilities that come with taking this position. It will be my job, working with Michael [Edwards] and leading the football operations team already in place, plus the wider staff at the AXA Training Centre, to make good decisions.

“That’s really what the job entails: you have to make the kind of good decisions which enhance the prospects of having a team that wins and excites the supporters. It is what Liverpool have done well for a very long time and the benefits are there for everyone to see.”

As a player, Hughes was on the books of Arsenal as a youngster before forging a professional with Bournemouth and Portsmouth. Following his retirement, the former Scotland international formed part of Howe's recruitment team at the Vitality Stadium and had been the club's technical director since 2016.

Newcastle's search for Ashworth replacement is ongoing, as are talks with Manchester United. Red Devils co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to appoint Ashworth to the club's new-look board, however the Magpies have demanded an initial compensation package of around £20million.

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