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Dan Ashworth has moved a step closer to becoming Manchester United’s new director of football after Newcastle confirmed he had been placed on gardening leave.
The two clubs have yet to agree a compensation figure, but Newcastle chief executive Darren Eales said: “We are naturally disappointed that Dan has decided to leave.”
As Mail Sport revealed on Sunday, Ashworth has told Newcastle that he wants to leave the club as the Red Devils prepare to launch a move for the sporting director.
Now, in a statement the the club websitethe Magpies confirmed the decision and insisted they were “disappointed” in the transfer boss.
A message from Darren Earles, the club’s chief executive, also said: “We are naturally disappointed that Dan has decided to leave, however our exciting journey is not stopping and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.”
Dan Ashworth asked to leave Newcastle due to interest from Manchester United
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is keen to appoint the highly-rated Ashworth as United’s sporting director, but the clubs must agree a significant compensation fee.
A statement on the club’s website confirmed the decision to place Ashworth on gardening leave.
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“We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and wish him and his family the best for the future.”
Mail Sport understands the gardening leave period written into the sporting director’s current contract would take him towards the January 2026 transfer window.
That means Man United will have to negotiate an enhanced compensation fee to release him early or meet the terms of his contract and wait for his gardening leave to expire.
As Mail Sport reported last week, events are expected to come to a head in the coming days.
Man United are believed to be willing to be patient and wait for Ashworth if a compromise cannot be reached, and that would mean Newcastle would pay his wages during his gardening leave.
The 52-year-old’s position felt almost untenable after Eddie Howe’s pre-match press conference on Friday, in which he raised concerns about Ashworth’s access to the club’s inner workings ahead of a possible defection to their rivals. .
The news about Ashworth will be frustrating for Newcastle manager Eddie Howe.
While at Brighton, Ashworth worked as manager while further enhancing his reputation.
Howe then said it was up to “someone above me” to answer whether Ashworth should be asked to leave the building immediately. The inference was that the head coach wanted the situation resolved imminently.
Ashworth remained over the weekend, attending scouting meetings and Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth.
However, he informed the club of his desire to leave on Sunday, just 20 months after arriving from Brighton.
He will now be tasked with leading the restructuring of football operations at Old Trafford under the new co-ownership of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos group. His main responsibility will be recruiting.
Exactly when he will take up that role depends on the outcome of talks with Newcastle this week.
Meanwhile, United’s set-piece coach Eric Ramsay, 32, is Minnesota’s target to become the youngest full-time coach in MLS history.