Manchester United's Sir Jim Ratcliffe Criticizes Newcastle Over Dan Ashworth's Gardening Leave

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe slams Newcastle United's handling of Dan Ashworth's gardening leave, complicating transfer plans and club restructuring efforts.
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Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe expressed concern over how Newcastle United is handling Dan Ashworth's gardening leave amid a battle with Manchester United over compensation fees for the Sporting Director in an interview with Bloomberg. Ashworth, who has been on leave since February after Manchester United's approval remains sidelined till an agreement is reached for the compensation fee with Newcastle. Newcastle United have sought a compensation fee of £20M, which Manchester United feel is an absurd figure.

Ratcliffe criticized the situation, saying, "I see absolutely no point in the gardening leave thing that they have in football. It just makes it difficult to change things with pace." He contrasted Newcastle's stance with Southampton's cooperative approach regarding Jason Wilcox, highlighting Newcastle as "very difficult and very awkward."

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Ratcliffe emphasized the impact on Manchester United's plans, noting the absence of key personnel like Ashworth and Omer Berrarda "Until you get the people in, it's quite difficult to drive the change and it's just frustrating," he admitted. Both the executives are yet to start their revamping tenure at Manchester United when their gardening leaves end. Omer Berrarda’s gardening leave is till mid-July but Dan Ashworth’s notice period in contract runs until the end of 2025.

With Manchester United aiming to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the 2023-24 Premier League season and an early exit from the Champions League, Sir Jim Ratcliffe hinted at challenges in the summer transfer window without Ashworth. "I'm not confident that we will solve all the problems in the first transfer window. It will take time," he said.

Despite the difficulties with the placement of key executives in the right places and tight financial rules grappling the club, Sir Jim Ratcliffe remained hopeful for gradual improvement. "We will take two or three summer windows to get to a better place," he concluded, underscoring the long-term nature of their rebuilding efforts.

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