Thursday, April 25, 2024

Sir Jim Ratcliffe: 18 months garden leave will be ‘absurd’ for Dan Ashworth

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Feb 2024

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe admits Dan Ashworth would make a “very good addition” to Manchester United as sporting director and says it would be “absurd” if he was forced to serve an extended period of garden leave.

Ashworth has been placed on leave by Newcastle after informing the club that he had chosen to leave his role as their sporting director.

Manchester United co-owner Ratcliffe has confirmed United’s interest in Ashworth and hoped a sensible solution could be worked out.

“I think Dan Ashworth is clearly one of the top sporting directors in the world. I’ve no doubt he’s a very, very capable person,” Ratcliffe said on Wednesday after completing his purchase of a minority stake in United which will rise to 28.9 per cent by year’s end.

“And he’s interested in the Manchester United job because it’s probably the biggest sporting director job in the world just now, with the biggest challenge.

“It would be different if you were sporting director at Manchester City, because you’re just maintaining a level. With Manchester United, you’ve got quite a significant building job.

“I think it’d be a very good addition to Manchester United, but he needs to decide whether he’s going to make that jump.

“We’ve obviously had words with Newcastle. They clearly would be disappointed to lose Dan. I understand why they would be disappointed to lose Dan but but then you can’t equally criticise Dan because it is a transient industry.

“So we’ll have to see how it unfolds.”

Ratcliffe said it would be “a bit silly” if it took £20million to secure Ashworth’s services, and added: “What I do think is completely absurd is suggesting that a man who’s really good at his job, sits in his garden for one and a half years.

“I mean, that’s completely stupid. We had a very grown-up conversation with Manchester City about Omar (Berrada, who will become United’s new chief executive). Things calmed up and we sorted it out very amicably.

“They could see why Omar wanted to take on that challenge and they didn’t want to stand in his way.

“You look at (Manchester City manager) Pep (Guardiola) with his footballers, if you’ve got a footballer that doesn’t want to play for Manchester City, then he says ‘fine, you can leave’ but he doesn’t tell him, ‘I want you to sit in the garden for four and a half years’.

“That’s not the way the UK works, or at least not the way the law works in the UK, either. It supports a period of time which is sensible and fair, but not silly periods of time.”

Ratcliffe admitted recruitment was “top of the list” in achieving his goal of returning to the pinnacle of the English and European game within three years.

“I think recruitment in the modern game is critical,” he said.

“Manchester United have clearly spent a lot of money but they haven’t done as well as some other clubs. So when I was talking about being best in class in all aspects of football, recruitment is clearly top of the list.”

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