Newcastle United saga reaches final stretch with ‘competent’ Dan Ashworth replacement imminent

Crystal Palace chief Dougie FreedmanCrystal Palace chief Dougie Freedman
Crystal Palace chief Dougie Freedman
Dougie Freedman is the favourite to succeed Dan Ashworth at Newcastle United and could be appointed as early as next week

Newcastle United are close to appointing Dougie Freedman as sporting director and an announcement could be made within days, according to reports.

The Crystal Palace chief is understood to be the front-runner to succeed Dan Ashworth, who remains on gardening leave amid interest from Manchester United. Toon chiefs have maintained their hardball £20million stance - frustrating Red Devils chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

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Ashworth promised a project at St James’ Park but left Newcastle in a difficult position earlier this year by announcing his decision to leave. As it stands, the 53-year-old remains on the Magpies’ books but his decision at the club is untenable.

He will join Man United - just whether that is in the coming months or 18 months from now has not been confirmed. Newcastle wasted no time in finding his replacement, with a bold club statement admitting that the process had already begun.

Palace supremo Freedman appears the front-runner to take over the reins at St James’ Park. The 49-year-old has played for, managed and sat in the boardroom for the Eagles - where he has served as sporting director since 2017.

Compensation is unlikely to be a hindrance and Football Insider claim he may be announced as early as next week once the Premier League season finishes. That would give competent operator Freedman time to settle in before a hectic summer transfer window.

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The ensuing domino effect could finally see Ashworth head to Man United. Newcastle will not want the saga to linger on further than it already has but are aware of how desperate Ratcliffe is to get him in the building.

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