Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe criticises Newcastle over ‘silly’ Dan Ashworth decision

'What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting a man who is really good at his job sits in his garden for one and a half years.'

Man Utd co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe criticises Newcastle over ‘silly’ Dan Ashworth decision
New Newcastle United Sporting Director Dan Ashworth
Manchester United want Dan Ashworth as their first-ever sporting director (Getty)

Manchester United’s new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has described Newcastle United’s decision to place Dan Ashworth on gardening leave as ‘absurd’ and their £20 million compensation demand as ‘silly’.

Ratcliffe’s £1.3 billion partial takeover of United was made official on Tuesday and the petrochemicals billionaire is now looking improve the club’s hierarchy.

Ashworth has been earmarked as United’s first-ever sporting director but Newcastle United are demanding a £20m compensation fee for the 52-year-old, who was placed on gardening leave this week.

Ratcliffe believes Ashworth is ‘one of top sporting directors in the world’ and has criticised Newcastle for their approach to negotiations so far.

‘Recruitment in the modern game is critical. Manchester United have clearly spent a lot of money but they haven’t done as well as some other clubs,’ Ratcliffe said.

‘So when I was talking about being best in class in all aspects of football, recruitment is clearly top of the list.’

New Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe
New Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe (BBC Sport)

When asked if he is confident Ashworth will join United, Ratcliffe replied: ‘Dan Ashworth is clearly one of top sporting directors in the world. I have no doubt he is a very capable person.

‘He is interested in Manchester United because it’s the biggest challenge at the biggest club in the world. It would be different at City because you’re maintaining a level. Here it’s a significant rebuilding job. He would be a very good addition.

‘He needs to decide if he is going to make that jump. We have had words with Newcastle who would be disappointed.

‘They have done really well since their new ownership. I understand why they would be disappointed but then you can’t criticise Dan because it’s a transient industry.

‘You can understand why Dan would be interested because it’s the ultimate challenge. We’ll have to see how it unfolds.’

When asked about Newcastle’s £20m compensation fee demand, Ratcliffe said: ‘A bit silly, personally. I wont get dragged into that.

‘What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting a man who is really good at his job sits in his garden for one and a half years.

‘We had a very grown up conversation with City about Omar Berrada. When things got done we sorted it out very amicably. They could see why he wanted to take that challenge.

‘You look at Pep and when he’s done with one of his footballers he doesn’t want them to sit in the garden for one and a half years. He doesn’t do that. That’s not the way the UK works or the law works.’

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