Man Utd confirm Dan Ashworth appointment with blunt joint Newcastle statement

Man Utd have announced Dan Ashworth’s appointment as sporting director. (Image: Getty)

Manchester United have announced the appointment of Dan Ashworth as the club’s sporting director, ending a drawn-out saga with Newcastle United. Ashworth’s well-timed arrival comes as a significant boost for United’s summer transfer plans and completes Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s new-look hierarchy.

Newcastle placed the 53-year-old on gardening leave over four months ago after he informed the club of his desire to become a prominent figure in the INEOS regime.

The Magpies’ hefty demands over a compensation package prolonged the process, and Ashworth looked set to take them to arbitration to force through a switch.

But United have finally found a compromise – potentially in relation to Newcastle’s pressure to raise funds to adhere to the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability Rules.

And both clubs released a joint-statement on Monday evening to confirm that Ashworth was due to start his new role with immediate effect.

It read: “Newcastle United and Manchester United have reached an agreement for the immediate release of Dan Ashworth from his contractual obligations at Newcastle United.

“The terms of this agreement remain confidential between the clubs. Newcastle United thanks Dan for his services and wishes him well for the future.”

Ashworth is replacing John Murtough, who stepped down as United’s football director in April, as one of three major appointments made by INEOS.

Dan Ashworth’s arrival is a big coup for Man Utd. (Image: Getty)

He will report to Omar Berrada, who is set to become the club’s new chief executive on July 13 when he finishes his gardening leave at Manchester City.

Jason Wilcox is already working as United’s technical director after leaving his position as Southampton’s director of football to replace Darren Fletcher.

Ashworth will operate in unison with Berrada and Wilcox, inheriting overall responsibility for football performance and recruitment.

The former Brighton and Hove Albion, West Bromwich Albion and FA chief has developed a strong reputation across different aspects of football operations.

Ratcliffe will be delighted, having recently expressed his frustration with Newcastle’s reluctance to sanction Ashworth’s exit.

“One of the biggest issues in football, which I have to say I wasn’t fully prepared for, was the gardening leave issue, which is not something that I bump into in my business world,” Ratcliffe told Bloomberg.

“I see absolutely no point in the gardening leave thing that they have in football. It just makes it difficult to change things with pace because Omar [Berrada] is on six months, Dan Ashworth is on one-and-a-half years.

“We had a very sensible conversation with Southampton about Jason Wilcox. We managed to find a solution to that.

“Newcastle are just being very difficult and very awkward about Dan. Until you get the people in, it’s quite difficult to drive the change, and it’s just frustrating.”