Newcastle bombshell as Manchester United ‘give up’ on Dan Ashworth amid gardening leave frustration

Manchester United are eyeing a deal for Newcastle United sporting director Dan AshworthManchester United are eyeing a deal for Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth
Manchester United are eyeing a deal for Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth | Getty Images
Manchester United are growing frustrated in their attempts to appoint Dan Ashworth as sporting director

Manchester United have tasked Matt Hargreaves with player recruitment ahead of the summer transfer window.

That is according to the Manchester Evening News, who claim the Red Devils have acted to avoid confusion should they not reach a breakthrough for Dan Ashworth. Newcastle United remain stubborn, unwilling to budge on their £20million demand to release the sporting director early.

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Toon chiefs are prepared to play the long game and allow Ashworth to run down the rest of his gardening leave - set to last until 2026. Man United’s camp hoped a negotiation could be agreed but Newcastle continue to play hardball.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the new minority shareholder at Old Trafford, publicly called the situation “silly”, with Ashworth unable to carry out any duties - or risk legal consequences - while still contracted to Newcastle. The Red Devils have now given Hargreaves, currently director of player negotiations, a temporary promotion for the coming months.

Man United are expected to undergo a transformative summer under Ratcliffe. The Ineos billionaire kept their powder dry in January as he conducted a full club audit.

FFP/PSR restrictions also governed Old Trafford bosses - a key reason why they have given up on Ashworth for now. A successful summer for Hargreaves would raise questions about whether Man United need the Toon chief.

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As for Newcastle, they announced plans to appoint a new sporting director in a club statement once Ashworth’s position became untenable. Head of recruitment Steve Nickson could be given the keys to the safe on a short-term basis until a long-term appointment is made.

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