Newcastle finalise sporting director timetable - and Dan Ashworth Man Utd plans

Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley is heavily involved in the process to appoint a new sporting director <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley is heavily involved in the process to appoint a new sporting director (Image: PA)

NEWCASTLE UNITED expect to have a new director of football in place before the end of the season, with Dan Ashworth’s exit to Manchester United also set to be rubber-stamped before the transfer window reopens.

Working alongside recruitment specialists, Odgers Berndtson, senior Newcastle figures have held a series of preliminary interviews with a number of leading candidates as they look to appoint Ashworth’s successor.

The next stage of the process will be finalise a shortlist of around three potential options, with formal interviews due to take place in the next fortnight.

Chief executive Darren Eales and co-owner Amanda Staveley will be involved in the formal interviewing process, along with other senior figures from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and PCP Capital Partners.

Once a preferred candidate has been identified, it is expected that they will meet Magpies chairman Yasir al-Rumayyan, who will then ratify the final decision.

The expectation is that the process will be concluded before the end of the season, although the incoming appointee could have to serve out a notice period if they are currently in employment.

Former Monaco sporting director, Paul Mitchell, is understood to figure prominently on Newcastle’s current list of candidates, having previously worked in England with Southampton and Tottenham.

A former lower-league player with the likes of Wigan Athletic and MK Dons, 42-year-old Mitchell made his name as a recruitment specialist during a spell working with Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton.


He followed Pochettino to Tottenham, before moving to Germany in 2018 to take up the role of head of recruitment and development at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. He joined Monaco as sporting director in the summer of 2020, but left his post in the south of France last October.

Newcastle are also understood to have spoken to Benfica’s Rui Pedro Braz and Roma’s Tiago Pinto, although the club are believed to have a preference for someone with at least some experience of having worked in the Premier League environment.

Newcastle’s recruitment drive is running in parallel with ongoing discussions over Ashworth’s anticipated departure to Old Trafford.

Staveley has held discussions with new Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, but the two sides have so far been unable to agree acceptable terms for Ashworth’s switch across the Pennines.

Newcastle are adamant they will not allow Ashworth to move to one of their Premier League rivals without a hefty compensation package, with the former FA chief having been away from his desk on gardening leave since February.

The Magpies do not have a game this weekend because of Manchester United’s involvement in the FA Cup semi-finals, and return to action when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.