I could not help but laugh when Man United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe pounded Newcastle

Part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe of Manchester United has called Newcastle United’s demands for sports director Dan Ashworth “silly,” but the Magpies are not going to back down.

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It’s a little absurd.” When Sir Jim Ratcliffe said those four words regarding Newcastle United’s demands, did anyone actually take any notice? Manchester United’s pursuit of Dan Ashworth has always been tinged with conceit.

Newcastle should just give way and allow the Red Devils to have the sporting director to which they appear to be entitled. After all, when their fierce rivals called for chief financial officer Omar Berrada, even Manchester City was prepared to have a “grown up conversation.”

But this is a distinct circumstance. Sir Jim has since commented about ‘one of the top sporting directors in the world’ being ‘interesting’ in Manchester United. However, Manchester United has not really gone through the front door, as interest was revealed long before Ashworth ordered Newcastle to leave over the weekend. On Wednesday, he boldly stated, “He would be a very good addition.”

Football, especially at the top, is overrun with robots, but you had to giggle when Sir Jim stated he ‘won’t get drawn’ into Newcastle’s £20 million asking price, only to say a moment later that it was ‘absurd’ that Ashworth could’sit in his garden for one and a half years’. The partial owner of Manchester United even continued, saying, “That’s not the way the UK works or the law works.”

It is still true that Ashworth’s 2022 contract with Newcastle included this notice time. Manchester United had to bargain with Brighton to get Ashworth’s gardening leave terminated early, a procedure that took nearly four months.

It’s really quite easy: Manchester United needs to come to an agreement if they want the sporting director to begin work sooner. Although it might sound expensive, even Gary Neville, who is part of INEOS’s plans to renovate Old Trafford, correctly noted that investing eight figures up front would prevent “you from blowing another £100 million on bad moves in the next window.”

But with a lot of pride at risk, Manchester United, like Newcastle in those pivotal months of the new ownership, do not want to be perceived as softies who give in easily. This is especially true given the club’s own profit and sustainability issues. After years of foolish expenditure, those taking over at Manchester United want to start over. On the other hand, Newcastle does not want to be pressured into selling Ashworth for a significantly less amount than what is worth, even if it means effectively having to pay a staff member not to work.

Eddie Howe issued a warning last week, saying, “We’re very protective of what’s ours, whether that’s players or staff.” “If people do eventually move on to other clubs then there’s a process to go through before that is reality.”

That claim is supported by the fact that Ashworth’s expertise, connections, and understanding are needed at Old Trafford, as seen by Manchester United’s seeming astonishment. After all, Sir Jim has been transparent about his intention to win back the Premier League for Manchester United in as little as ‘two or three seasons’. But Manchester United will be without its desired builder for over two years if they are unable to strike a breakthrough with Newcastle.

Given that one of Ashworth’s first actions upon joining the team will probably be to perform a thorough audit to determine what is and is not working at the club, it is obvious that Manchester United needs the 52-year-old as soon as possible, particularly in light of Sir Jim’s admission that the organization’s structure is “not good.” That might still work in Newcastle’s favor.


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