Buidling Dreams Together


Life after Dan Ashworth: What’s next for Newcastle United?

While plenty of the focus of the Dan Ashworth saga has been on his move across the Pennines to Manchester United, there is also the small matter of Newcastle United losing one of the key players of their new era.

The Red Devils are entering their own new era with the investment of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos, but it’s easy to forget that the Magpies are just at the start of their own new dawn, with this season being just the second full one under the Saudi-led ownership. 

Ashworth was targeted by the Newcastle ownership in the early days of their ownership, when he was at Brighton, where he had gained many plaudits for contributing towards their rise up the Premier League table.

However, he then had a period of gardening leave and didn’t officially start at St James’ Park until June 2022, meaning he has only had four transfer windows on Tyneside that have been bound to FFP restrictions.

He was seen as the man to drive the football side of business for the foreseeable and it’s clear that Newcastle are unhappy to lose their Sporting Director at an early stage in their own long term project. 

Hence why Newcastle are looking to take Man United to the cleaners with the compensation as Ashworth still had years to run on his Toon contract. 

Now it’s time for Newcastle to have a second bite of the cherry in terms of finding a long term Sporting Director, with Toon CEO Darren Eales adding: “We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn’t stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

“We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future.”

Who could the Magpies target? Here’s a potential list of candidates who could join the Geordie revolution.

Michael Edwards

The former Liverpool Sporting Director has been out of the game for almost two years, but would be a statement appointment for the Magpies.

Edwards has since founded data consultancy firm Ludonautics with Liverpool’s former director of research Ian Graham, which has been a success and has started helping a Premier League club and has a relationship with Bolton Wanderers.

Edwards was lauded for his recruitment at Liverpool, with him playing a large part in the signings of Virgil Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah among others. 

It would be a marquee appointment for the Toon but it could be difficult to tempt him away from his current work at Ludonautics, as it was rumoured that he turned down a return to Liverpool in favour of his current post.

However, a project like Newcastle’s is very unique in the current world of football and could prove to be a tempting option for Edwards. 

Richard Hughes

Hughes’ name has cropped up in speculation on social media, with outlets suggesting that he could reunite with Eddie Howe on Tyneside.

Hughes’ work with Howe on the south coast earned him plaudits, after his recruitment helped the Cherries work their way up the English football pyramid and establish themselves as a Premier League side. 

Hughes was instrumental in signings like Nathan Ake, Josh King and Dominic Solanke, who have all has success with the Cherries.

It is widely understood that Howe would love to work with Hughes again and if the head coach is asked by the board for suggestions, then it is almost guaranteed that Hughes would be the top of his list.

Phil Giles

Giles is one of the most influential figures behind one of the Premier League’s biggest success stories of recent times.

Giles has been at Brentford for nearly a decade and he has been instrumental in their recent success at English football’s highest level. 

Brentford haven’t bought their way up the Football League, they’ve boxed clever and bought players that have made huge profits and Giles has been instrumental to their recruitment.

Ollie Watkins and, Saed Benrahma were both signed during Giles’ tenure and fetched huge profits for the Bees and it’s looking likely that Ivan Toney will go the same way in the summer. 

It seems written in the stars that boyhood fan Giles would end up being a pivotal figure on Tyneside and the Newcastle board would be very foolish if they didn’t speak to the man who’s been instrumental in one of the biggest rises in English football.

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