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Manchester United set new timeline to bring in director of football

Dan Ashworth at Newcastle is Man Utd’s preferred target but they are prepared to wait in order to seal the deal

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Writer
Thursday 15 February 2024 17:02 GMT
Dan Ashworth looks set to join Manchester United
Dan Ashworth looks set to join Manchester United (Getty Images)

Manchester United are willing to wait for a year for Dan Ashworth to start as their director of football and will not pay Newcastle United £10m to ensure he can begin straight away.

United are preparing an official approach for Ashworth, Newcastle’s sporting director, and are also interested in appointing Jason Wilcox – currently Southampton’s director of football – to assist him.

But while Newcastle could put Ashworth on gardening leave or demand a huge sum to release him straight away, United will not be held to ransom.

They would like the former FA director of elite development and Brighton technical director to begin his job at Old Trafford immediately but are conscious that a £10m transfer fee would help ease Newcastle’s issues with Profitability and Sustainability Rules and compound their own difficulties.

United’s new regime, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s deal to buy 25 per cent of the club set to be finalised next week after the FA and Premier League granted their approval is taking shape.

If Ashworth joins, he would report to Omar Berrada, who will arrive from Manchester City to take up the post of chief executive. Berrada, currently City’s chief operating officer, is on gardening leave there but United know his ideas.

Omar Berrada will be Manchester United’s new chief executive and Dan Ashworth would report into him (PA Archive)

United also want to bring a team around Ashworth with Wilcox, who has helped Southampton’s promotion push and who has a good relationship with Berrada from his time as City’s academy director, one of the options. United are yet to make an approach to the Championship club for the former England winger.

John Murtough, who was appointed United’s first football director in 2021, remains in his post for now. If Ashworth is appointed, Murtough would probably have talks with him to see where he could fit into the new structure.

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