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Dan Ashworth put on gardening leave by Newcastle United amid Manchester United interest

The sporting director of Newcastle United Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave after telling the Magpies he wants to join Manchester United, according to the BBC.

The Red Devils want the former West Bromwich Albion technical director as co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe is a huge fan of his previous works.

However, they will need to part with compensation to get their man, and BBC claims Newcastle believe they will be within their rights to ask Man United for a fee well in excess of £10 million.

According to the Times, the Magpies want £15m to release Ashworth from his 20-month gardening leave period.

Newcastle officials are also said to be furious at the manner of the Red Devils’ approach for their sporting director and have blocked any access he had to the club’s computer programmes and scouting reports.

They are also prepared to bide their time and let him wait for more than a year and a half on gardening leave if an agreement cannot be reached. However, Man United are determined they will not be held to ransom.

Official talks between both clubs are yet to begin, and it is believed that is one of the reasons Newcastle are angry with the Red Devils.

While they only parted with £4m to land Ashworth from Brighton & Hove Albion in June 2022 following a three-month gardening leave, the Toons want an unprecedented figure to let go of their transfer chief.

Man United want to land Ashworth as soon as possible to have him in place ahead of the summer transfer window, but they may need to splash the cash to get him with Newcastle ready to play hardball.

This could turn into an interesting saga from the look of things, and Ashworth will be motivated to hit the ground running at the Old Trafford club should the move for him go through.