appointment Ashworth Playing in a key strategic role at the club will be a welcome boost ahead of the 2022/23 season.
Negotiations between Brighton and Newcastle to release Ashworth from his gardening leave have now resumed, Mail Online reports.
Ashworth stepped down as Brighton’s technical director in February and will be appointed to a “similar role” at St James’s Park.
But a difficult notice period until November 2022 has prevented the Magpies from officially appointing the 51-year-old, who also has experience working at West Bromwich Albion and Football Association.
Premier League table without VAR – Newcastle United, Leeds and Everton intrigue…
Brighton originally requested a £5million payout for Newcastle to appoint Ashworth ahead of the 2022-23 campaign but now the clubs are said to be close to an agreement.
This means Ashworth can be appointed as early as next week and give the club a clear strategy and direction for the new season.
In many ways, he could prove to be Newcastle’s most important signing of the summer.
While the club have made great strides on the pitch since taking over, progress off the pitch has been limited without an established sporting director.
Ashworth’s success in establishing Brighton as a well-run Premier League team on a modest budget makes him the perfect candidate to transform Newcastle on all fronts behind the scenes.
Head coach Eddie Howe, who has had to fill many responsibilities as “sporting director” during his first season at St James’s Park, has also described Ashworth’s appointment ahead of the new season as a “matter of urgency” as he hopes to fine-tune his workload to adapt to himself focus on coaching the first team.
“We still have a lot to improve behind the scenes to become the club we want to be,” said the Magpies manager.
And Ashworth will play a pivotal role in that, while also playing a key role in the club’s recruitment strategy and academy development through negotiating contracts and working with agents.
While Ashworth won’t change Newcastle’s recruitment strategy or transfer targets before the June 10 window opens, his presence at the club could be the difference needed to get some players ‘over the line’.
Performance on the field is ultimately a football club’s most important factor, but it’s those building blocks behind the scenes that will help Newcastle consistently perform at the highest level.
While Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi are already somewhat practical in their roles at the football club, they lack the football experience that Ashworth can offer as he will help bridge the gap between players, staff and the club hierarchy.
“The connection from the boardroom to the field is important,” Ashworth previously told Training Ground Guru when discussing the role of athletic director. “Every club has a CEO and chair – and budgets, philosophies and principles – and it’s really important that we communicate that, whether it’s about club values or maximizing the budget and making sure we’re spending the money right .”
Ashworth’s role at Newcastle is seen as a long-term one, helping the club re-establish itself as a key player in European football.