‘Newcastle will’ - Alan Shearer shares ‘naive’ verdict on Dan Ashworth to Man Utd situation

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Dan Ashworth is currently placed on gardening leave by Newcastle United as Toon chiefs demand a £20million buyout clause

Alan Shearer expects Manchester United to agree a deal that will allow them to cut Dan Ashworth’s gardening leave short.

As it stands, Newcastle United are playing hardball with Old Trafford chiefs over the sporting director. Reports have suggested the Magpies are demanding £20million for Ashworth - a fee that would be a record.

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The 52-year-old joined Newcastle in June 2022, just eight months into the Saudi-backed project on Tyneside. But he is now angling for an exit following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s minority takeover at the Red Devils.

The Ineos billionaire announced he had acquired a 25 per cent stake in Man United yesterday and his revamp at the Theatre of Dreams is already underway. Former Manchester City CEO Omar Berrada was appointed last month and Ashworth is the man targeted as sporting director.

His fate currently lies in limbo, unable to start work for Man United or continue duties at St James’ Park. Newcastle are understood to be taking a stubborn stance as the Red Devils are a direct Premier League rival.

Speaking to The Rest Is Football podcast, Toon legend Shearer backed the two clubs to reach an agreement. He also remained sceptical about whether Ashworth would be preparing for his role at Man United throughout the gardening leave period.

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“Well, he’s had a really good career when you look at what he did at Brighton (and) England”, Shearer said. “Newcastle did that to Brighton in terms of them wanting him badly at the football club. He had to go on gardening leave at Brighton before he could take over at Newcastle.

“But we’re not naive enough to think that once someone goes on gardening leave that they’re not working for that other football club. My guess is that a compromise will be had. They’ll pay a fee. How much that will be I’m not quite sure but he’s done a really good job at Newcastle.

“When you think about what he knows in terms of player’s contracts, clauses in their contracts, who Newcastle might have to sell, who they want to buy, he’s taking all that info with him to another football club. So it’s a tough one but it is what it is.

“If you do well at your job somebody is going to come in and try and poach you. Man United want the best at their football club and it seems that finance won’t be an object. I think they’ll do a deal with Newcastle and he’ll leave.

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“They’re a huge football club and they’re going to go on to bigger and better things under this new ownership model they’ve got. It’ll be sorted out one way or another, he’ll eventually leave, Man United will pay a fee and Newcastle will get someone in to do that job.”

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