Manchester United set to make ‘formal approach’ for Newcastle’s sporting director Dan Ashworth

It sounds like the man himself is ready to make the move.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 15th February 2024

Manchester United are reportedly set to make a ‘formal approach’ for Newcastle United’s sporting director, Dan Ashworth, as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the INEOS Group continue to assemble their new executive team.

The club have been linked to the likes of ex-Liverpool recruiter Julian Ward, Crystal Palace’s Dougie Freedman and most heavily Paul Mitchell, who has worked at Southampton, Spurs, RB Leipzig and more, but Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth now appears to be the frontrunner.

As per The Athletic, the leading candidate has now told the Magpies of United’s interest and although there is yet to have been any contact between the two teams thus far, a formal approach is expected to come soon.

ln fact, the word from Fabrizio Romano is that Ashworth has apparently already personally agreed to the move, it’s just a case of the North East club greenlighting it and setting their terms.

As explained in multiple reports, the main hurdle the Red Devils now face is how much it’s going to cost them, with Newcastle understood to be after significant compensation if Ashworth is to depart.


The 52-year-old only arrived at the club a couple of years ago, not long after the Saudi takeover and the start of their own rebuild, and given their recent progress not only in recruitment but on the pitch as a result, they are obviously keen to keep him on board as they continue their resurgence.

Having already helped develop the player recruitment structure as well as investing in attracting more youth talent on Tyneside, his reputation at Newcastle and prior is a glowing one.


It is this pedigree, combined with the other highlights on his CV that has seen Ashworth jump to the top of Ratcliffe’s list, with the UK billionaire and his right-hand man Sir Dave Brailsford said to want him in place and ready to help overhaul in time for the transfer window rather than wait until next summer.

Who is Dan Ashworth and why do Man United want him?

Before his role at Newcastle, started out his youth career as a footballer at Norwich and eventually went on to get his first job as a sporting and technical director at West Brom in 2007.

He then went on to join the FA as their director of elite development in 2012 and played a key role in the success of both the men’s and women’s national teams throughout the age groups and beyond, with several of England’s youth teams having gone on to win silverware.


It was in 2019 that he became technical director at Brighton, whose recruitment strategy has been heavily praised over the past few years, before eventually leaving in February 2022 after being headhunted by Newcastle to become their new sporting director.

Both teams have picked up some very good players and introduced some promising young talent in recent seasons, so United will be hoping for similar success at Old Trafford. Fans can also expect Ashworth to create better communication and relationships throughout the club’s infrastructure.

Here’s what he had to say about creating strong connections throughout different departments when he joined the Toon.

Read more:

Once again, no official approach has been made as yet but is thought things could move quite quickly once an offer is made and United’s board are clearly keen to make things happen soon.

Ratcliffe also recently appointed his new CEO Omar Berrada, who made a switch to the other side of Manchester after leaving his senior role at the City Football Group.

The impressive bit of poaching is also thought to have played into Ashworth’s own decision to say yes according to The Guardian, and if approved, Manchester United could have a whole host of new faces at the helm in a relatively short space of time.


For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.

Featured Images — Newcastle United (via YouTube)