Newcastle United 'forced into rethink' as Dan Ashworth replacement saga takes fresh twist

Crystal Palace chief Dougie FreedmanCrystal Palace chief Dougie Freedman
Crystal Palace chief Dougie Freedman | Getty Images
Dougie Freedman has reportedly signalled his intention to stay at Crystal Palace amid interest from Newcastle United

Dougie Freedman has rejected Newcastle United’s offer to become sporting director and will stay at Crystal Palace, according to reports.

The Eagles chief was widely considered the club’s first choice to replace Dan Ashworth, who remains on gardening leave. Toon chiefs were understood to have narrowed their search down to the final few names - with Freedman as the front-runner.

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A respected figure, the 49-year-old was rumoured to be on Manchester United’s radar before they went all in on Ashworth. The Newcastle job was understood to be his to turn down - and he appears to have done exactly that.

One popular Palace social media account took a selfie with Freedman ahead of their final-day win over Aston Villa. The supporter revealed Freedman dismissed suggestions of taking the St James’ Park role and planned to stay in South London.

Football Insider now support that claim - insisting the Eagles’ director has turned down Newcastle. The news will come as a blow to the Magpies after identifying Freedman as their No.1 target.

He has a proven transfer record, signing the likes of Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen and Cheick Doucoure on a limited budget. However, a promising end to Palace’s season under Oliver Glasner has resulted in Freedman staying put.

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As for Newcastle, they are now forced into a rethink after being close to landing their man. The Ashworth saga has also turned ugly, with reports of contract breaches and legal battles while Man United and the Magpies remain no closer to agreeing a compensation package.

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