In a noteworthy development, legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly recommended the highly-regarded director Dan Ashworth to the club, a suggestion that aligns with recent speculation of Ashworth becoming the new sporting director at Old Trafford following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s anticipated 25 percent takeover (Daily Mail).
The Athletic discloses that Sir Alex Ferguson was impressed by Ashworth’s accomplishments, particularly his pivotal role in laying the foundations for Gareth Southgate’s success with the England national team and transforming Brighton into one of Europe’s progressive and forward-thinking institutions.
The recommendation reportedly occurred in 2022, when Ashworth was on the radar of Manchester United.
However, at that time, he was hesitant to engage in talks, expressing reservations about a role that would involve reporting to John Murtough.
Ironically, Ashworth is now positioned to potentially replace Murtough as United’s football director, according to The Mail.
Although the long-serving Murtough may still have a role under Ratcliffe, it is reported that Ashworth, if convinced to move from Newcastle, could assume the responsibilities of United’s football director.
Sir Dave Brailsford, the right-hand man of INEOS owner Ratcliffe, is said to be a significant admirer of Ashworth, with reports suggesting that the appointment of Ashworth is Brailsford’s ‘dream.’
Ashworth’s reputation extends beyond his ability to establish a clear and cohesive structure behind the scenes; he is also recognized for his astute eye for talent in the transfer market.
His tenure at Brighton and Newcastle saw the acquisitions of notable talents such as Moises Caicedo, Leandro Trossard, Sven Botman, Tino Livramento, Antony Gordon, and Kaoru Mitoma.
Furthermore, Ashworth’s positive relationship with Florin Manea, the agent representing the Manchester United-linked central defender Radu Dragusin, adds an intriguing dimension.
The highly-rated Romania international, valued at £25 million, is expected to leave Genoa in 2024, and discussions with Newcastle United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur have already taken place.
The potential appointment of Ashworth at Manchester United could potentially strengthen the club’s pursuit of one of Europe’s promising young defenders.