Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Manchester United made approach to technical director, but prospective deal hit buffers

Dan Ashworth Brighton

Manchester United made an approach to Newcastle-bound technical director Dan Ashworth earlier this year, according to a report.

The highly-respected Ashworth resigned as director of football at Brighton in February after being approached by Newcastle. The former FA man decided to take the job on Tyneside, but he has been unable to start his new role due to his contract obligations at Brighton.

Brighton said in February that, in line with his contract, Ashworth would now start “an extended period of gardening leave, after which he will be able to take up a new position elsewhere”.

Newcastle are keen on releasing Ashworth from his contract early. But the Daily Mail report that Brighton want £5m in compensation. Otherwise the 51-year-old will have to wait until November to take up his new role.

Before that though Manchester United made an approach for the former West Brom chief.

The Athletic report that United pondered appointing Ashworth and made contact with him. It’s a name that is familiar to Old Trafford chiefs because he was understood to be on the short-list for a similar job at the club in 2018.

As per the report, there was no formal offer or interview. But United did sound out Ashworth, who is not expected to attend Brighton’s premises or matches.

However, the sticking point for Ashworth was the structure at Old Trafford. It’s claimed he would have had to fit into the existing framework and so the deal went no further.

Ashworth wary of Man Utd structure

Ralf Rangnick, Darren Fletcher, Chris Armas Man Utd v Watford February 2022

John Murtough has been promoted from head of football development to football director. While United old boy Darren Fletcher has moved up from academy coach to technical director.

Add in Ralf Rangnick, who will move into an consultancy role at the end of the season, and the situation is complicated. Not to mention new boss Erik ten Hag, who has already made it known he wants control of transfers at the club.

Instead, Ashworth looked at Newcastle. And the situation looks far less complicated on Tyneside with Ashworth agreeing a deal with the Magpies’ new owners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

It’s understood Ashworth will be the man to oversee Newcastle’s restructuring. But Newcastle will have to wait for Ashworth’s hands on approach until next season.

That will leave Eddie Howe, Amanda Staveley, Mehrdad Ghodoussi, and Steve Nickson to manage their summer recruitment.

READ MORE: New Man Utd transfer strategy touted with players warned why they should worry about Ten Hag