Dan Ashworth exit confirmed by Newcastle after Man Utd approach | Football

The sporting director has begun a period of gardening leave (Picture: Getty)

Newcastle United have confirmed that Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave following an approach from rival Premier League side Manchester United.

The highly-regarded 52-year-old told the Newcastle hierarchy of his intention to leave St James’ Park over the weekend having agreed a deal to become United’s first-ever sporting director, though the two clubs still need to agree on a compensation package.

Ashworth is believed to have a notice period of as much as two years and Newcastle are demanding in excess of £20million to let him leave early.

As things stand, United are unwilling to pay that much and are prepared to wait to get their man, though Newcastle are keen to move on quickly and will now begin looking for a successor.

Darren Eales, Newcastle’s CEO, said: ‘We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn’t stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

‘We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future.’

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth

Ashworth’s gardening leave could potentially last until 2026 (Picture: Getty)

There is yet to be any official communication between Manchester United and Newcastle over a compensation fee for Ashworth, but talks are expected to ramp up following today’s announcement.

Asked about the situation surrounding Ashworth last week, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said: ‘It’s a difficult one because when you’re in that role I think you need longevity to actually see the fruits of your labour.

‘It’s sort of a long-term position and the people who have done it best in the Premier League throughout time have always had a period of real stability, because change takes a long time at any football club to get those processes exactly how you want them to be.

‘Dan’s had a relatively short time here, Newcastle is a huge football club and it will continue to work in a very efficient way regardless of who is here.

‘We’ve got some very, very capable people here in all departments, so we would carry on very smoothly. Since they have come to the football club the board have run it really well.’

He added: ‘Dan let the structures that were in place exist and survive and we’re still working the same way that we were in the first transfer window [which predated Ashworth’s arrival].

‘Our recruitment has been very good. So that won’t be affected.’

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