Newcastle: PIF facing big problem over behind-the-scenes target

Newcastle United will be unable to appoint Dan Ashworth as their new director of football until November because of still being on gardening leave after resigning from his position at Brighton & Hove Albion, according to The Sun journalist Tom Barclay.

The Saudi Arabia-based Public Investment Fund completed a £305million takeover of the St James’ Park outfit last October, making the Magpies the richest club in world football, but their healthy financial situation has not allowed them to welcome Ashworth to Tyneside.

What’s the latest news involving Ashworth?

Ashworth quit as Brighton’s technical director in February, with the Seagulls revealing the 51-year-old was leaving the Amex Stadium due to looking to ‘take a similar role at another Premier League club’.

He walked away having already held initial discussions over the director of football role at Newcastle after Brighton had given the Magpies permission to arrange an interview.

Just 24 hours after his resignation on the south coast, it emerged that Ashworth had already entered advanced talks.

However, it is understood that Brighton are holding out for a substantial compensation package to allow Ashworth to cut his notice period short, having been placed on gardening leave following his decision to resign.

According to the Daily Mail, Ashworth could be made to wait until November before taking up his role as Newcastle’s director of football.

The report suggests negotiations over Ashworth’s release from gardening leave are ongoing between the Magpies and Brighton, but his arrival on Tyneside will not be imminent unless significant progress is made.

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What has Tom Barclay said about Ashworth?

Barclay understands that Brighton are holding firm over Ashworth’s notice period, much to the frustration of Newcastle.

The journalist believes the Football Association’s former director of elite development will be unable to head to St James’ Park until the final weeks of 2022.

Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: “I’d heard whispers about his gardening leave situation being nine months a while ago, but I couldn’t get it stood up.

“If that is the case, then that would lead to November.”

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How are Newcastle coping without a director of football?

The Newcastle hierarchy hired specialist recruitment firm Nolan Partners last December as they looked to find the right candidate for the job, so it is clear they are keen to appoint a director of football.

With the position yet to be filled, the Magpies unveiled Nick Hammond as a transfer consultant on a short-term deal and the Premier League side went on to become Europe’s biggest spenders during the January window.

While Eddie Howe has admitted that Newcastle need to appoint a director of football with ‘a matter of urgency’, he is prepared to help fill the void amid delays to Ashworth’s arrival.

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