Newcastle reveal 'concern' over Dan Ashworth taking transfer secrets to Man Utd

  • Man Utd want to appoint Newcastle's Dan Ashworth as sporting director
  • Magpies boss Eddie Howe worried about rivals knowing their transfer plans
  • Howe also played down Ashworth's impact at St James' Park

Ashworth is set to join Man Utd from Newcastle
Ashworth is set to join Man Utd from Newcastle / Matthew Lewis/GettyImages

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has admitted sporting director Dan Ashworth joining Manchester United with knowledge of the club's transfer plans and other recruitment information is a 'concern'.

Ashworth is in line to join Man Utd from Newcastle having been approached by the Red Devils this week, with incoming shareholders INEOS keen to make him the club's first-ever sporting director.

Across spells with West Bromwich Albion, Brighton & Hove Albion and now Newcastle, Ashworth has established himself as one of football's top talent-spotters.

In a press conference prior to Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, Howe was asked about the worry of losing Ashworth to a competitive rival in Man Utd given his knowledge of the club's transfer secrets and contract talks.

"I think your concerns are relevant," Howe replied. "I don't know how much I can say on that but I share your opinion.

"The work [summer transfer plans] never stops. The work never stopped in the build-up to January and it won’t stop in the build-up to the summer. Recruitment is a 365-day job. It never sleeps and the processes are unchanged.

"Yes [Ashworth knows about Newcastle's plans] and that's why I say he's in a position of power, with a lot of intelligence and information. That's why it's a slightly unusual situation.

"I want the situation resolved quickly. but it's not about what I want, is it? I don't know, it's not my decision. I'm not in control of it. At some stage there has to be a line drawn and things have to move forward. It's better for everybody if that is the case."

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However, Howe did insist most of Newcastle's best recruitment during his time as manager came before Ashworth took control of recruitment, with the sporting director instead allowing the club to continue their processes naturally.

"The club will always move forward [if Ashworth goes]," Howe added. "We've got some very good people in all departments doing some outstanding work that people don't see.

"The club is hugely ambitious and that has never changed. I've got no doubt the club will be successful in the future.

"That first window was incredibly difficult and we didn't know at the time quite how successful those players would be. But as you say [it happened before Ashworth was appointed], that was probably our most successful window and the summer one too, was very, very good and Dan had only just arrived.

"The biggest thing he did was not change anything. The biggest compliment I can give Dan when he came in - and this is difficult to do when you’re in a position of power like he is - then the natural temptation is to change everything, to come in with a big ego and say, 'this is what we're going to do'. He didn't.

"He let the structures that were in place exist and survive and we're still working the same way that we were in the first transfer window. We just carried on as normal. So, our recruitment has been very strong. Now that does not guarantee anything moving forward, but our recruitment will continue exactly the same way.

"It's a difficult one [how big a blow to lose him] because when you're in that role [sporting director], I think you need longevity to actually see the fruits of your labour.

"It's sort of a long-term position and I think the people who have done it best in the Premier League throughout time have always had a period of real stability, because change takes a long time at any football club, to get those processes exactly how you want them to be.

"Dan's had a relatively short time here, but let's see what happens. As I say, as I sit here now, nothing has happened."