Southampton furious with Man Utd and could block Jason Wilcox move until 2025 | Football

The Red Devils are facing another Dan Ashworth-style saga (Pictures: Getty)

Southampton are livid with the timing of Manchester United’s approach for Jason Wilcox and are ready to insist he serves his full 12-month notice period.

Reports emerged on Monday evening that Southampton’s technical director was set to move to Old Trafford imminently and would step down from his current role.

United are of the belief that they have offered a fee – equivalent to a year’s salary – that triggers a release clause, but the south-coast club have disputed the existence of any such agreement.

According to The Times, Southampton are so unhappy with the manner and timing of United’s approach that they are ready to play hardball even if it means Wilcox is forced to serve his 12-month notice period in full.

Southampton were beaten 3-2 by Championship leaders Ipswich Town roughly around the time the Wilcox news emerged and they are locked in a fierce battle to secure promotion – though it looks as though they will need to do so via the Play-Offs.

This is an unwanted distraction at a critical part of the season and talks between United and Southampton have not progressed well.

The offer from United, worth a year’s salary, has been rejected and Wilcox will be placed on gardening leave until the summer of 2025 if he decides to quit.

Former Manchester City technical director Jason Wilcox

United’s pursuit of Wilcox is turning into another saga (Picture: Getty)

Southampton could let him go sooner but, angered by the way United have conducted themselves, they will demand a fee far greater than what has been put on the table so far.

If a better offer is not forthcoming, Southampton are willing to hold Wilcox to his full notice period even though that means missing out on receiving any compensation, while they will also have to pay him for the next year even though he will not be working.

Saints boss Russell Martin was rather blunt when asked about the rumours following his side’s loss to Ipswich, saying: ‘I’ve been hearing he’s going to leave for six weeks in the media, nothing’s changed.’

United now face the very real prospect of another long, drawn-out negotiation to secure a key cog in their restructured backroom team, just as has been the case with their pursuit of Dan Ashworth.

The former FA chief has accepted an offer to move to Old Trafford as the club’s first-ever sporting director, but he is currently serving a notice period that lasts until the end of 2025.

Newcastle are unwilling to budge significantly from their £20million asking price to end his gardening leave early, but that figure is way beyond what United’s new minority owners Ineos are prepared to pay.

The chances of Ashworth joining in time to play a role at the club before the summer are considered very faint, and the same now appears to be true of the move for Wilcox too.

Wilcox’s move to Old Trafford would see him reunited with incoming United CEO Omar Berrada, with the two having worked together at Manchester City – though the Spaniard is also currently serving his notice period before he can take over the reins.

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