Howe admits fears as Man Utd line up move for sporting director Ashworth

Howe admits fears as Man Utd line up move for sporting director Ashworth

© AFP 2022
February 16, 2024 at 12:54 PM
Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth, pictured in 2016
Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth, pictured in 2016. Photo: NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP/File
Source: AFP

Eddie Howe admitted Friday he has "concerns" over Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth's knowledge of the club's inner workings as speculation mounts that he is on the brink of a switch to Manchester United.

United are understood to be keen to bring in Ashworth as part of an overhaul of the club's structure following Jim Ratcliffe's deal to acquire a 25 percent stake in the Old Trafford giants and take control of football operations.

The chairman of chemicals giant INEOS has moved quickly to strengthen United's football leadership group, with recruitment a particular area of focus.

Asked if the detailed intelligence the 52-year-old Ashworth possesses about his current employers and their blueprint was a concern, Newcastle boss Howe replied: "I think your concerns are relevant. I don't know quite how much I can say on that, but I share your feelings."

He added: "It goes without saying that we're very protective of what's ours, whether that's players or staff. If people do eventually move on to other clubs, there's a process to go through before that is reality."

Howe said there had, as of Friday morning, been no formal contact between the clubs, but was candid when asked if Ashworth had told him he wanted to remain at St James' Park during the whirl of speculation in recent days.

He said simply: "No."

Howe said he wanted a quick resolution on the future of the former Football Association technical director.

"At some stage there has to be a line drawn and things have to move forward," he said.

"The club will always move forward. 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."

Howe's comments came as he prepared his team for Saturday's Premier League clash with former club Bournemouth at St James' Park.

The Newcastle boss confirmed that striker Callum Wilson was due to undergo surgery on Friday to repair a pectoral muscle injury.

He is likely to be out of action for most of the rest of the season, putting his Euro 2024 hopes in doubt.

"It's no doubt a big blow to him because I think he's looking at various things," said Howe. "His first priority has always been Newcastle and he feels it has been a stop-start season for him.

"He takes that burden of being one of our two strikers very seriously and he's desperate to do well and score goals.

"He was very disappointed in that perspective and he had England on the horizon as well so we hope he'll be back before the end of the season."

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© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022