Who is Dan Ashworth? The Newcastle transfer guru linked to Man Utd following Ineos’ partial takeover

Jacque Talbot
Dan Ashworth, Newcastle, Man Utd
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Dan Ashworth is Newcastle’s sporting director who has been linked with a move to Manchester United ahead of their Ineos revamp.

The anticipated move is linked to the prolonged acquisition process by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who finally saw his stake of 25 per cent ratified and announced on Christmas Eve. Ashworth is the first choice for the technical director role at Old Trafford, while Paul Mitchell, whose most recent job was a Monaco, is thought to be taking up the spot for sporting director.

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FootballTransfers reported earlier this monththat Ashworth would be open to a move to Old Trafford if he was allowed a majority of say in the club’s recruitment, though whether any move between clubs manifests is unclear at the moment.

What experience does Dan Ashworth have?

Ashworth enjoyed a short playing career, which included stints at Norwich City during his youth, followed by a period with non-league clubs Eastbourne Town, St. Leonards, and Wisbech Town. He retired from playing in 2000 but remained actively involved in football.

In 2000, he assumed the role of academy director at Peterborough United, followed by a stint as the centre of excellence director at Cambridge United from 2001 to 2004. He then transitioned to West Bromwich Albion, initially supporting youth team manager Aidy Boothroyd and eventually taking over as the youth team manager after his departure in 2004. His responsibilities expanded, leading to his promotion to the club’s sporting and technical director in 2007.

In 2012, Ashworth got his big break, taking the position of FA director of elite development, contributing to the development of the ‘England DNA’ program. He was there for six years when in 2018, Ashworth resigned from his FA position and revealed his plans to assume the role of technical director at Brighton in 2019.

While at Brighton, Ashworth played a crucial role in overseeing successful transfers, including the acquisitions of the likes of Tariq Lamptey, Jakub Moder, and Marc Cucurella, who all succeded.

Newcastle appointed Ashworth as their sporting director in the summer of 2022 following months of speculation, and his recruitment has led them to one of their greatest eras in the Premier League.

What can Man Utd expect from Dan Ashworth?

At Newcastle, he has secured the signings of the likes of Tino Livramento, Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes, Alexander Isak, and Sven Botman, though a lot of his work has been using his connections to bring in some of the most notable academy graduates around.

His expertise and MO are very much in bringing in young English talent – a mantra that is synonymous with Ratcliffe’s blueprint. If Man Utdmanaged to secure Ashworth, they would be bringing in someone whose preoccupation is very much about the future, rather than for the here and now.

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