Newcastle United issue short statement confirming major appointment

The deal has brought about the first major off-field appointment by the Magpies owners.

Newcastle United have confirmed the appointment of Dan Ashworth as their new sporting director after reaching an agreement with Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Magpies initially approached their Premier League rivals in January and held talks with Ashworth over a key role within a new look setup at St James Park.

Ashworth resigned from his technical director role with the Seagulls but was placed on gardening leave, meaning Newcastle would have to agree a compensation fee to secure his services.

It was expected Ashworth would finally move to Tyneside later this year when his period of gardening leave came to an end - but talks were reopened between the two clubs last week and they have now reached a successful conclusion.

The agreement was confirmed in a short statement released on United’s official website on Monday evening.

It read: “Newcastle United are delighted to announce that Dan Ashworth will become the club's sporting director after an agreement was reached with Brighton & Hove Albion to release him from his current contractual obligations with immediate effect.

“The terms of this agreement will remain confidential between the clubs and are subject to Premier League approval.

“Newcastle United will issue further information following the relevant approval process.”

Ashworth is expected to have an extensive and wide-ranging role with the Magpies hierachy and will be a pivotal figure throughout what could be a transformative summer and beyond.