Home News Man United quoted ridiculous fee to hire transfer chief ‘liked’ by Liverpool

Man United quoted ridiculous fee to hire transfer chief ‘liked’ by Liverpool


The difficulty of Liverpool’s task in hiring the right sporting director this summer has been shown with Man United quoted a ridiculous fee for their top target.

Over the years, fans have become accustomed to players being touted for transfer fees into the eight and even nine-figure region.

It is a new development, though, for backroom staff and even executives to be given a price tag – but that is the way modern football is heading.

After a week that saw Man United‘s new performance director, Sir Dave Brailsford, stopped for photos by young supporters, the boardroom saga has continued in the club’s pursuit of Dan Ashworth.

On Sunday evening, The Athletic‘s David Ornstein reported that Ashworth had informed Newcastle of his desire to vacate his role as sporting director in order to join Man United.

That was quickly followed up by the news that the former West Brom and Brighton transfer lead had been placed on 20-month garden leave.

Manchester United want to bring in Dan Ashworth from Newcastle (Nick Potts/PA)

But while that would suggest a move to Manchester is imminent, it has been widely reported that Newcastle are asking for compensation of £20 million in order to release him from his contract early.

Otherwise, Newcastle would continue to pay Ashworth while he is on garden leave until the end of 2025.

The Times‘ Martin Hardy, who claims the fee requested is closer to £15 million, reports that Newcastle “immediately blocked any access the 52-year-old had to the club’s computer programmes and scouting reports.”

This would be to avoid a similar situation to that which left Liverpool to pay a £1 million settlement in 2013, after Dave Fallows and Julian Ward were alleged to have used logins for Man City‘s Scout7 database after moving from the club.

Liverpool, for what it’s worth, have been credited with an interest in Ashworth, with journalist Ben Jacobs claiming that the 52-year-old is “liked” by those within the club.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool's sporting director Jorg Schmadtke during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But the figures mentioned when it comes to his appointment highlight why Fenway Sports Group will go nowhere near him as they seek a long-term replacement for Ward.

Jorg Schmadtke left his position at the end of January, leaving FSG to not only replace Jurgen Klopp this summer, but also hire a sporting director to oversee recruitment.

West Ham technical director Tim Steidten has been named as a possible candidate, as has his Bournemouth counterpart Richard Hughes, though it remains to be seen who Liverpool will appoint.

The likelihood is that compensation would be required to hire any sporting director who is currently in a job – though few clubs will be in a position to demand anything close to the £20 million Newcastle appear to be.