Newcastle want Premier League experience for Dan Ashworth’s replacement as interviews begin

Dan Ashworth, the outgoing Newcastle United sporting director
Newcastle are set to start interviewing for Dan Ashworth's replacement next week - Getty Images/Serena Taylor

Newcastle will start the interview process for their next sporting director next week with a preference for them to have experience in the Premier League.

Dan Ashworth, who spent two years in the role at St James’ Park, is currently on gardening leave and finding his successor could speed up his departure to Manchester United, with the clubs in negotiations over a deal.

The position at Newcastle is among the most important at the Saudi-owned club, with a key role in the transfer market and working within profit and sustainability regulations (PSR), which is why those with experience in the Premier League are preferred. Recruitment headhunters Odgers Berndtson have been used to find candidates.

Dan Ashworth at St James' Park
The highly-regarded sporting director was placed on gardening leave in February ahead of his move to Manchester United - Getty Images/Serena Taylor

Steve Nickson, Newcastle’s head of recruitment, has assumed more responsibility since Ashworth has been on gardening leave and he is expected to be in the running although the process has been described as comprehensive and is certain to have a variety of contenders.

Club sources describe it as a “global search” with nothing ruled in or out and next week’s interviews are unlikely to be the only ones.

Ashworth has been largely successful during his time at Newcastle and leaves sizeable boots to fill. The club have been backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia giving them huge funds for transfers, although their signings have been within PSR and has seen them play in the Champions League this season. However, the arrival of Sandro Tonali was also on his watch and the Italian is currently serving a ban for betting breaches while at AC Milan.

United stepped up their restructure of the club under their new Ineos co-owners, with Jason Wilcox confirmed as their new technical director. They want to make one appointment above Wilcox in the hierarchy and want Ashworth to fill the role.