Newcastle land first-choice replacement for Dan Ashworth as Paul Mitchell named sporting director

Paul Mitchell. Newcastle have announced the appointment of Paul Mitchell as Dan Ashworth's successor as sporting director. Issue date: Thursday July 4, 2024
Paul Mitchell will reaplce Dan Ashworth at St James' Park - PA/Nick Potts

Newcastle United have managed to land their first choice target to replace Dan Ashworth as sporting director after persuading Paul Mitchell to take the job.

Telegraph Sport revealed back in March that the 42-year-old headed a shortlist of potential candidates but Mitchell had initially been reluctant to make the move.

That led to a failed attempt to lure Dougie Freedman away from Crystal Palace, with the Scot deciding to remain in London after they offered a substantial pay rise to fend off Newcastle’s interest.

That was a blow to the Newcastle board, but chief executive Darren Eales, who has led the search for a new sporting director, went back to Mitchell and has finally got his man.

Newcastle had made it clear they wanted someone with a proven track record in recruitment and Mitchell ticked all the boxes in that respect.

Mitchell has been head of recruitment at MK Dons, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and RB Leipzig and manager Eddie Howe had also argued that is the area of expertise the club needed behind the scenes.

Eddie Howe who has insisted he will dictate his own future at Newcastle amid speculation linking the Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann with his job
Recruitment experience in the executive positions is invaluable according to Eddie Howe - PA/Bradley Collyer

The former Wigan player has also been a sporting director at Monaco and is now ready to return to English football.

“It’s with immense pride that I accept the responsibility of being Newcastle United’s new sporting director,” Mitchell said.

“I’ve seen the recent growth and ambition of the club. This, plus the amazing fan base, made the decision to join an easy one.

“I can’t wait to get started and help continue the organisation’s growth and long-term competitiveness in all areas of elite football performance.”

Eales added:  “We are delighted to welcome Paul to Newcastle United. He brings a successful track record and wealth of experience to the club.

“His extensive and diverse experience in football leadership, cultural change and recruitment mean he is the ideal person to lead our sporting directorate.

“We look forward to working with Paul and supporting him in our pursuit of long-term, sustainable success.”

Newcastle reached an amicable financial compensation agreement with Manchester United to enable Ashworth to start work at Old Trafford earlier this week, which allowed them to confirm Mitchell’s appointment this morning.

Having solved their PSR issues with the late sales of Yankuba Minteh and Elliot Anderson to Brighton and Nottingham Forest, Newcastle are expected to be able to spend around £100m in this summer’s transfer window. A right sided forward and a right sided centre back are the main areas of the squad to address.