Man Utd: Dan Ashworth has already upset Sir Alex Ferguson because of two figures | Football | Sport

Manchester United are accelerating their chase of Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth as Sir Jim Ratcliffe prepares to officially commence his reign over football operations. Ashworth is INEOS’ priority candidate to replace John Murtough, but he has had suitors at Old Trafford long before United’s ownership shake-up.

The Mail report that the 52-year-old wants to leave Newcastle and join the Red Devils’ new era under the INEOS banner.

And it’s claimed that the two clubs are expected to reach an agreement over Ashworth’s move as early as next week, with a formal approach being prepared.

Ashworth has only worked at St James’ Park since the summer of 2022, joining from Brighton and Hove Albion, where he further boosted his reputation in the industry.

But the lure of the magnitude of the project INEOS have in store at United is said to have convinced him to drop his things and join the Ratcliffe revolution.

Ratcliffe and INEOS have the job of undoing the former hierarchy’s mistakes of the last decade since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, which have caused a steep decline.

And Ashworth may already be in place at Old Trafford if it wasn’t for United’s heavily flawed former system under the Glazer family’s watch.

According to The Athletic, Ferguson advised ex-chief executive Richard Arnold to make an approach for Ashworth in 2022 in an attempt to improve the club’s inconsistent recruitment fortunes.

Arnold obliged but made it clear that the experienced chief would be working under football director John Murtough, internally appointed by the Glazers a year earlier.

Ashworth, expecting to be Murtough’s superior, declined the opportunity to enter formal negotiations and later left Brighton for Newcastle.

Ferguson will have been left disappointed by the ex-Football Association figure’s decision to reject the opportunity to work for United.

However, it speaks volumes of how confident he was in his ability, and the stars now appear to have aligned for Ashworth to land at Old Trafford.

United have already appointed Manchester City’s chief football operations officer, Omar Berrada, as Arnold’s successor. He will start work this summer after serving a period of gardening leave.

Ashworth is being eyed as the next high-profile hire to spearhead INEOS’ upheaval of United’s sporting structure, with a head of recruitment potentially following him through the door.

Nothing is final, though. Newcastle could dig their heels in and make Ratcliffe cough up significant compensation to lure Ashworth away from Tyneside.

And even more cash might have to be tabled to ensure he isn’t made to serve a lengthy period of gardening leave, reportedly currently set at 12 months.

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