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Dan Ashworth wants to join Man Utd

Dan Ashworth has informed Newcastle United he wants to leave to become Manchester United’s new director of football.

But i understands Newcastle are set to play hardball on the terms of his departure when United formalise their interest this week.

Ashworth told Newcastle he had been approached last week but did not express a preference to leave. But that changed on Sunday in a move that will surely prompt formal contact from Old Trafford, where Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25 per cent investment will be officially ratified in the coming days.

As i reported back in December, Ashworth has long been the number one choice of Sir Dave Brailsford – Ratcliffe’s right-hand man. And now it appears they will get their man, although when and how much he will cost are still far from certain.

Ashworth was present at St James’ Park on Saturday but his position has become increasingly untenable with his interest in joining United an open secret at Newcastle.

Eddie Howe had said at his pre-match press conference that a quick resolution was required, even expressing concern about the amount of intelligence and knowledge of Newcastle’s future plans that he would potentially take to United.

Those worries are shared by those in positions of power at Newcastle and will inform their negotiations. It has been reported that the terms of his contract stipulate a gardening leave period of two years unless compensation can be agreed.

Newcastle are understood to be angling for considerably more than the £10m speculated on last week.

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