Man Utd told to pay up for Dan Ashworth as Newcastle demand full compensation

Dan Ashworth/Newcastle bid to put brakes on Man Utd’s Dan Ashworth move by demanding full compensation
Dan Ashworth is Man Utd's top target - Getty Images/Serena Taylor

Newcastle United will not allow Manchester United to make a swift appointment of Dan Ashworth as the Old Trafford club’s new sporting director - with confidence at Newcastle that they can demand a compensation fee of more than £10 million.

Telegraph Sport has been told that Newcastle are “very well protected” in terms of Ashworth’s contract as director of football, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos operation having made him their first choice in the sporting director role to turn around Manchester United.

It has been suggested that a compensation figure to land Ashworth would be more than £10million. Manchester United and Ineos are understood to be confident that the process is moving in the right direction and that Ashworth is ready to make the change. Although Old Trafford is aware of the sensitivities of recruiting such a senior figure from a Premier League rival.

Sources said the funds Newcastle might receive in compensation should United succeed would at least help the club to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

The club said: “We do not comment on speculation,” when asked about Ashworth’s situation on Wednesday. Newcastle have not been told formally that Ashworth would be interested in taking the Manchester United job, and have worked on the basis that he is happy and settled on Tyneside and focused on his role.

However, that is not the same as saying he would reject an offer from United if they – as is now widely expected – make an official approach.

United are also expected to make further senior appointments as Ratcliffe’s Ineos move towards formalising their 25 per cent stake in the club this week following approval on the Premier League’s owners and directors’ test. The club have already reached agreement with Manchester City executive Omar Berrada to become the chief executive in the summer. Other senior executive appointments are expected to enable United and Ineos’ French Ligue 1 club Nice to benefit from cooperation on squad planning and recruitment.

Ashworth was working as normal on Wednesday after Telegraph Sport revealed that the club’s hierarchy have feared for several days he could signal his intention to leave this month. That feeling, though, has turned into something more belligerent in the past 24 hours.

United would prefer for Ashworth to start this summer

Newcastle are adamant they have a strong hand to play in any negotiations and will not be forced into making any concessions that aid a club they regard as direct rivals.

Ashworth’s contract is understood to include a 12-month gardening-leave clause should he decide to move, and Newcastle will insist that the full term is adhered to unless United are willing to pay additional compensation.

Newcastle are braced for an official approach in the coming days and will make it clear they expect all the terms of his contract to be fulfilled. If Ashworth is forced to sit out the next 12 months, he will miss the first two transfer windows under Ineos’s control of the football side of the business and will not have any input into their recruitment until the summer of 2025. It is believed United would prefer him to start in the summer.

The convention in these situations is that a deal is eventually struck once a replacement is in place. Ashworth resigned from Brighton in Feb 2022 to join Newcastle but was placed on gardening leave until a deal was struck in May of that year to release him from his contract.

Should Ashworth leave for Manchester United then the role he leaves behind at Newcastle will be coveted by many who have worked in that role. Newcastle manager Eddie Howe has worked in the past with Richard Hughes in his days at Bournemouth but it is understood he will not be moving.

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