Dan Ashworth

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Manchester United and Newcastle United have hit a stalemate in negotiations over sporting director Dan Ashworth.

Ashworth was identified as United’s top target for their new recruitment team earlier this season and initial contact saw him ask Newcastle to be granted a move to Old Trafford.

The Magpies subsequently placed Ashworth on gardening leave while they negotiated with United over a compensation fee to release the former Brighton & Hove Albion chief from his contract, but little progress has been made.

As noted by the Daily Mail, Newcastle have so far refused to compromise from their demands of £20m in compensation, but United are refusing to meet that asking price.

The Athletic add that United do not plan to pay “anywhere near” that figure and are instead pointing to the sum Newcastle paid Brighton to land Ashworth in June 2022 – a reported £4m – as they seek to drive Newcastle’s asking price down.

Dan Ashworth

Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Newcastle have already handed control of transfer duties to head of recruitment Steve Nixon but may eventually be forced to make a decision as they continue to hand Ashworth his full wage while he is no longer performing his duties.

As for United, incoming chief executive Omar Berrada is expected to take charge of proceedings when he arrives at Old Trafford this summer if no breakthrough in the pursuit of Ashworth, or any other target, is made.

United continue to hold conversations with alternative targets and are known admirers of Southampton’s Jason Wilcox, and a deal for 52-year-old would likely prove more simple than negotiations over Ashworth.

Julian Ward, who left Liverpool last summer, has been considered but is not expected to be formally pursued.

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