Newcastle 'agreement in place' as update emerges on £5m St. James' Park call

Newcastle United are ‘unlikely’ to stump up the cash needed to cut Dan Ashworth’s gardening leave short and welcome him to St James’ Park prior to the scheduled end of his notice period, according to Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie.

The Magpies may be the richest club in world football, thanks to the Saudi Arabia-based Public Investment Fund leading a £305million takeover last October, but that has not resulted in them being able to make a quickfire swoop for Ashworth.

What’s the latest news involving Ashworth?

The Daily Mail have revealed that Newcastle’s hopes of being able to unveil Ashworth as their new director of football have been dented due to a seven-figure standoff with Brighton & Hove Albion.

It is understood that the Seagulls are demanding a fee of £5million in order to release the 51-year-old from gardening leave, but the Tyneside giants’ owners – led on English shores by Amanda Staveley and her husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi – are refusing to pay what they believe to be an inflated price, meaning Ashworth may not arrive at St James’ Park until November.

Ashworth resigned as Brighton’s technical director in February, with the south coast outfit revealing he was departing the Amex Stadium due to looking to ‘take a similar role at another Premier League club’.

He walked away from the Seagulls having already held initial discussions over the director of football role at Newcastle, with those negotiations coming after Brighton had given the Tynesiders permission to arrange an interview.

Just 24 hours after quitting Brighton, it emerged that Ashworth had already entered advanced talks, but being placed on gardening leave has halted the move from going through.

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What has Keith Downie said about Ashworth?

Downie understands that Ashworth has already agreed terms with the Newcastle hierarchy, meaning he is in line to head to Tyneside and become their new director of football.

However, the Sky Sports reporter believes the Magpies are not willing to fork out £5million to cut his gardening leave short, meaning it is likely they will go into the summer transfer window without Ashworth.

Downie told GIVEMESPORT: “I think Newcastle are obviously keen to bring him in. The agreement is in place there.

“Whether they will pay the £5million to get him in early, I would think it’s unlikely after speaking to those at the club. I think they’re quite content to wait.”

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Why is Ashworth wanted by Newcastle?

Ashworth played an integral role in the progression of England’s international sides as the Three Lions won the Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups as well as the Under-19 European Championships during his time as the Football Association’s director of elite development.

It became obvious that Newcastle’s owners were desperate to fill the director of football position after they chose to hire specialist recruitment firm Nolan Partners, last December, to assist them in their search for the right candidate.

Head coach Eddie Howe has also admitted the Magpies need to make an appointment with ‘a matter of urgency’, but he is prepared to help behind-the-scenes amid delays to Ashworth’s arrival.

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