Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Newcastle put ‘outstanding’ Prem chief on three-man shortlist to replace Man Utd target Dan Ashworth

Tiago Pinto and Paul Mitchell, Newcastle

Tiago Pinto (left) and Paul Mitchell (right) are being eyed by Newcastle

Newcastle United are preparing for life without Manchester United target Dan Ashworth and could bring in one of three highly respected sporting directors, according to a report.

New Man Utd part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has identified Ashworth as his No 1 target to head up the club’s football operations and guide them on the long journey back to major silverware. On Monday, Man Utd made an official approach to Ashworth and Newcastle, prompting the sporting director to hand in an exit request at St James’ Park.

Newcastle have resultantly put the former Brighton chief on gardening leave while his future is resolved. The Magpies are expected to hold out for as much as £20million in compensation before signing off on Ashworth’s move to Old Trafford, though Man Utd feel they can negotiate this price down.

As per BBC Sport, Man Utd feel they are in a strong position to get their man as Newcastle will have to continue paying Ashworth while he is on gardening leave.

On Friday, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe admitted concern that Ashworth will take his inside knowledge to Man Utd.

Those above Ashworth at Newcastle are understood to be furious that he is pushing to leave for a Premier League rival, having only joined his current side in May 2022.

DON’T MISS: What experts are saying about Man Utd target Dan Ashworth – ‘He was a game-changer’

Nevertheless, Newcastle must now work hard to find a top-class replacement for the 52-year-old. According to the latest from the i, Newcastle already have three options in mind.

The first is Phil Giles, who has been at Brentford since 2015. Giles was appointed as Brentford’s director of sport in May 2022 and garnered an ‘outstanding’ reputation at the top level.

Newcastle eye Dan Ashworth replacements

He has been in a key figure in the Bees gaining promotion to the Premier League and establishing themselves as a solid top-flight club.

Giles has been instrumental in Brentford signing players such as Ivan Toney, Christian Norgaard, Bryan Mbeumo and Mathis Jensen.

The 48-year-old has a keen eye for spotting undervalued talent, which has helped Brentford punch way above their weight. The fantastic job he has done in West London has now caught Newcastle’s attention, as they feel he could continue the work Ashworth has started.

Giles would likely jump at the chance to join Newcastle, too. Not only would it represent a significant next step in his career, but it would also be a dream move as he grew up in the north east and is a lifelong Newcastle fan.

The second transfer specialist on Newcastle’s radar is Paul Mitchell, who has coincidentally been linked with a move to Man Utd as well.

Mitchell has gone on a slightly different route to most English football directors by plying his trade in Europe, having impressed at clubs such as RB Leipzig and Monaco since leaving Tottenham Hotspur in 2018.

Mitchell, who is currently a free agent, has fantastic connections across the globe and could help Newcastle sign some hugely exciting players.

Alongside Giles and Mitchell, Newcastle are also keeping tabs on Tiago Pinto. The Portuguese was Benfica’s director of football before becoming sporting director at Roma in January 2021.

While Roma were affected by Financial Fair Play regulations, Pinto helped Jose Mourinho to keep the squad competitive. This saw Roma win the Europa Conference League in May 2022 and reach the Europa League final the following season.

Like Mitchell, Pinto is a free agent, having left his role at Roma in early February. As such, he would be easier to capture than Brentford’s Giles.

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