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Newcastle Places Sporting Director Dan Ashworth on Gardening Leave Amid Manchester United Interest

Newcastle Places Sporting Director Dan Ashworth on Gardening Leave Amid Manchester United Interest

Newcastle United has announced that Sporting Director Dan Ashworth has been placed on gardening leave after expressing his intention to leave the club. This decision follows reports linking Ashworth with a move to Premier League rivals Manchester United, fueled by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s acquisition of a 25% stake in the Manchester club.

Ashworth, who joined Newcastle in 2022 from Brighton & Hove Albion, where he served as technical director, has been formally approached by Manchester United. The club’s CEO, Darren Eales, expressed disappointment at Ashworth’s departure but emphasized Newcastle’s commitment to finding a suitable replacement swiftly.

Gardening leave, a common practice in employment contracts, requires the departing employee to stay away from work during their notice period. This measure aims to protect the company’s interests by preventing the outgoing employee from joining competitors immediately. Despite being off-duty, the employee remains on the company’s payroll.

Ashworth’s potential move to Manchester United has garnered attention due to his reputation as one of football’s top sporting directors. His tenure at Brighton saw him play a pivotal role in the club’s progress, including the appointment of Graham Potter as manager.

Newcastle’s decision to place Ashworth on gardening leave underscores the complexities of personnel transitions in professional sports. While Manchester United’s interest in Ashworth signals their ambition to strengthen their management team, Newcastle must navigate this departure and secure a suitable replacement to continue their trajectory.

The ongoing developments highlight the fluid nature of football management and the strategic considerations clubs undertake to maintain competitiveness in the Premier League.

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