Newcastle United hopeful of announcing ‘major’ appointment ahead of transfer window

Newcastle United have re-opened talks with Brighton & Hove Albion over Dan Ashworth - and are hopeful of reaching a positive outcome.

Newcastle United hope to have Dan Ashworth in place ready to tackle this summer’s transfer window.

Brighton and Hove Albion announced in February that technical director Ashworth had been put on gardening leave after he agreed to join another Premier League club.

That club, of course, was Newcastle. The 51-year-old will become the first major boardroom appointment since the club was acquired by the PIF-led consortium in October.

Confirmation of his switch from the South Coast to the North East has been delayed with United unable to agree a compensation package with the Seagulls.

It is understood Brighton had demanded £5million to release Ashworth from his contract, a figure the Magpies simply would not meet.

Fresh talks over Dan Ashworth take place

However, as widely reported, there is fresh hope Ashworth can be appointed as the club’s technical in the coming weeks after talks between the two clubs re-opened.

Newcastle will be busy in this summer’s transfer window - the first under their new wealthy ownership - with a number of incomings and outgoings expected.

United could certainly do with Ashworth’s expertise, with head coach Eddie Howe, assistant Jason Tindall, chief scout Steve Nickson and co-owner Amanda Staveley currently acting as a four-person transfer panel.

They spent around £90m on recruiting Kieran Trippier, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Dan Burn and Matt Targett (loan) - which ultimately helped the club retain its Premier League status.

This summer, however, United will recruit players capable of taking them to the next level. Internally, the ambition is to challenge the European spots.

Ashworth could be United’s biggest summer signing

Certainly, having Ashworth in place and working on transfers, as well as everything else behind the scenes, could be the club’s biggest signing this summer.

Ashworth played a lead role in establishing Brighton as a Premier League club alongside Graham Potter’s possession-based style. That was after Ashworth helped implement ‘England’s DNA’

There is no doubt Howe will relish working with Ashworth, who viewed the 44-year-old as a future England manager during his Bournemouth days.

Although Howe has been more than happy to take on ‘sporting director responsibilities’ in his opening six months at St James’ Park, the 44-year-old knows the importance of Ashworth’s appointment.

Howe said: “Whatever the situation is, I can adapt and overcome.

“When I first came in, I said that appointing a sporting director is a matter of urgency for the club, because we need those structures that help the club improve.

‘We have a lot of improving to do behind the scenes to get to be the club that we want to be. That’s in all areas. We want to build the club and, to do that, you need the right people and the right appointments to happen.

“In the meantime, I’m more than capable of doing certain things. The outcome of the January transfer window has been very successful. I enjoyed the process of how we got to that outcome. Everyone did a really good job. I’m more than happy to do that again.”

The transfer window opens on June 10, with United, to no surprise, already linked with several names.