Dan Ashworth to Man Utd could play straight into Chelsea’s hands and bank Blues millions | Football | Sport

Dan Ashworth’s prospective move from Newcastle United to Manchester United could have knock-on effects elsewhere in the Premier League. Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly, for one, may be pleased to see someone new taking charge of the Magpies’ transfer strategy as it boosts his chances of receiving a healthy summer windfall.

Blues academy product Lewis Hall signed for Newcastle last summer on a season-long loan. The Toon would be obliged to make the move permanent for up to £35million, however, if certain criteria are met this campaign.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has remained tight-lipped on whether the permanent switch is dependent on the number of appearances Hall makes. So far the 19-year-old has only started four matches in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

And in a possible nod to outgoing sporting director Ashworth, who has overseen Newcastle’s transfer strategy since June 2022, Howe stated that whether Hall will remain at St James’ Park is effectively out of his control.

“You’re probably asking the wrong person,” he said in December. “It’s not [my decision]. For me, he’s here now, he’s a Newcastle player. But I think there are certain criteria he has to meet.”

Chelsea will hope that whoever steps in to replace United-bound Ashworth gives Howe the green light to play Hall as and when he pleases, therefore boosting the chances of his loan move being made permanent.

The Blues could do with shifting peripheral members of Mauricio Pochettino’s squad after a period of extortionate transfer spending under co-owner Todd Boehly. Hall, Romelu Lukaku and Ian Maatsen are among those reportedly on the chopping block ahead of the summer window.

Despite limiting his minutes this term, Howe has spoken glowingly about Hall and suggested a bright future could be in store if he shores up the defensive side of his game. “Lewis is a really talented player,” he said. “He has huge technical qualities. He’s a really good attacking full-back. He’s got certain things to learn defensively, which we’re working on with him, but he’s still young.”

Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave after informing Newcastle of his wish to take on the sporting director role at Old Trafford. United are now weighing up whether to hand the Magpies a hefty sum of compensation or wait until 2026, when his gardening leave period will have been served.

Newcastle’s wealthy Saudi Arabian owners will naturally be keen to replace Ashworth with a transfer chief of the highest quality to continue the 52-year-old’s good work.

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