It’s about damn time, man. Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion have finally settled their dispute and agreed on a proper compensation to bring Dan Ashworth to Tyneside. As the clubs are reporting, it’s a private and confidential agreement that will remain confidential for the time being, and that is still subject to and pending approval by the Premier League.
On a (very) short note, Brighton “[thanked] Dan for his services and [wished] him well for the future” while Newcastle welcomed their new Sporting Director to the club.
That Sporting Director role is the one the Magpies have long wanted to hand Ashworth, who has been chased for a few months—he was given permission to discuss terms with Newcastle as early as last December—and can finally join the Toon. Brighton, in an effort to block NUFC from landing Ashworth earlier, put the staffer under a gardening leave period.
Whatever the terms, the negotiations, the deal, and whatnot, this is HUGE news for Newcastle entering their first transfer window under the new owners and still with almost two weeks in the schedule for the official opening of the transfer market on July 10.
No, this is not the signing of Neymar. No, this is not Halaand. It is not even Marcelo, not even Tolisso, and definitely not even Paulo Dybala. But don’t get it wrong, because Newcastle might be much much muuuuuch better off completing this signing than any of the others. There was a glaring lack of a Sporting Director, and Dan Ashworth was clearly the employee to chase before it was too late. And the Magpies, of course, accomplished the feat—Ed.: is there anything impossible to do and out for reach for the lads from Tyneside these days!?
Ashworth, who has been labeled a “transfer guru” by those in the known, is joining the most optimistic, promising, and exciting organization in the whole English football panorama. As simple as that.
The staffer, who is arriving from Brighton, surely comes with an extensive and glorious resume. Football365 reviewed the moves (and I’m not going to take credit for showing you their list right here without properly namedrop them). They concluded that “under his watch, Tariq Lamptey was plucked from Chelsea for £1m, Adam Lallana joined on a free transfer, Joel Veltman cost £900k, relative unknowns Leandro Trossard, Jakub Moder, and Marc Cucurella were signed from Genk, Lech Poznan, and Getafe respectively. In six transfer windows at Brighton, there have been many hits and no significant misses.”
Back in 2017, as the FA Technical Director, Dan Ashworth commanded a ship of youngsters that saw the Mini Three Lions become World Champions in both the Under-17 and Under-20 tournaments while the 2018 senior side (guided by Gareth Southgate) reached the semi-finals of the World Cup on top of everything and leading to the near-success of the national team in last summer’s Euro 2020, falling just one penalty short of glory.
They’ll joke about it—because envy and jealousy are strong when it comes to Newcastle these days—but the England DNA worked like a charm and the plan truly came to fruition. You bet it did, folks. In his own words defining it, Ashworth described the England DNA as “a way of doing things that stretched from how we coach to how we treat players, how we warm up, how we recover, eat and travel. Everything.” He added that “the players were given a clear idea of what to expect from us, and we told them exactly what we expected of them. On the field, off the field – we set standards for them.”
And that is precisely what he’ll be doing for the Magpies starting this very moment. Without a Sporting Director in place, it’s been head coach Eddie Howe taking on the classic, now-into-abeyance British manager role. Howe has had to deal with the coaching, the off-the-pitch stuff such as staff management, scouting assignments, development tasks, player chasing and signing including the negotiation of their contracts, etc... And the bloke still boosted the club and fostered it to a near top-half finish this season in the monster, minnow-eating Premier League. Uh, oh, the flex.
With Ashworth taking on all of those peripheral—to the actual game played on the grass, that is—tasks, you bet Howe will take his talents to another level while Newcastle the club, Newcastle the organization, Newcastle the whole enterprise, benefits from a proper and structured role network.
This might not have moved you a tiny bit from your sit. You are probably not even reading this line, because who cares about a director, right? Well, reconsider your reading priorities, then, and you’d know why no later than one, two, or a handful of weeks when true signings start coming, the academy starts to pump out youngsters in bunches, and Newcastle inevitable starts sky-rocketing up the English football rankings.
Welcome, Dan! And more than ever, Howay the freaking full pack of Lads!