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Man Utd could look elsewhere for a sporting director as deal for Dan Ashworth stalls

Man Utd could look elsewhere for a sporting director as deal for Dan Ashworth stalls

Manchester United remain eager to appoint Newcastle United’s Dan Ashworth as the club’s new sporting director, but they’re still grappling with a significant stumbling block.

The Red Devils hope to have their new-look recruitment team up and running ahead of a crucial summer transfer window, during which the club is expected to be busy.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is a huge admirer of Ashworth’s work stretching back to the Englishman’s spell at Brighton & Hove Albion. 

The British billionaire would love to have Ashworth on his payroll at Old Trafford. The talent spotter is also eager to take the job, but Newcastle are playing hardball.

The Magpies are demanding £20 million to release Ashworth from his contract and have placed the 53-year-old on lengthy gardening leave while scouring the market for his successor.

However, United have refused to break the bank to land Ashworth, especially as the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR) remain a lingering concern.

While Ratcliffe is keen to work with Ashworth, The Athletic reporter David Ornstein believes United could explore other options to fill the role unless Newcastle soften their stance.

United have other targets on their radar, including Southampton’s Jason Wilcox and former Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward, although the latter is unlikely to take the job at Old Trafford.

“(I’m) not aware of any breakthrough yet in talks with Newcastle over Ashworth,” Ornstein said during his Q&A session.

“As previously reported, Newcastle wanted/want £20m, and Man Utd don’t intend to pay anywhere near that. They [Man Utd] seem happy to bide their time if needed.

“Man United are also waiting for Omar Berrada to start as CEO this summer, but they could recruit somebody else [as sporting director] in the meantime.”

United’s deal to sign Ashworth is still expected to go through, but both clubs will need to agree on a compromise fee that is acceptable to all parties.

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