Newcastle United target who wanted St James' Park move joins Premier League rivals

The former Roma chief had registered an interest in joining Newcastle United earlier this year.

Dougie Freedman has turned down the opportunity to succeed Dan Ashworth as Newcastle United’s sporting director.

The Magpies had enlisted the help of recruitment experts Odgers Berndtson to find a replacement for Ashworth, who was placed on gardening leave in February following an approach from Manchester United.

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After conducting interviews with the likes of Paul Mitchell, Tiago Pinto and Rui Pedro Braz, Freedman and German Johannes Spors - the global sporting director of the 777 Group - made it down to the final two.

Freedman soon emerged as first choice, however the 49-year-old has opted to sign a new and improved contract at Crystal Palace. Newcastle’s search continues, a far from ideal situation with the summer transfer window just around the corner.

United will again consider their options but one candidate they won’t be able to revert back to Tiago Pinto. The former Benfica and Roma sporting director was announced AFC Bournemouth’s new President of Football operations on Friday.

The 39-year-old spoke publicly about the potential opportunity of joining Newcastle earlier this year. He told i News: “If a big club like Newcastle asks to speak to you, of course you’re interested,. I know the club’s story very well because Sir Bobby Robson was a big personality in Portugal and we associated him with Newcastle. I followed the club because of that passion.

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“The work the new ownership has done has been very impressive – with a clever strategy they’ve come from a relegation fight to the Champions League so there’s huge potential at Newcastle. I don’t know if the interest is true or not but who would say no to a project like that?”

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