Dan Ashworth’s 10 biggest signings as sporting director as Man Utd eye Newcastle transfer guru
Posted by  badge Boss on Feb 20
Manchester United are pushing to recruit Dan Ashworth (Picture: Getty)

is a wanted man – and it’s easy to see why.

The sporting director is ’s number-one target as and INEOS continue their .

The 52-year-old, who enjoyed stints at Peterborough United, Cambridge United and West Bromwich Albion, was the FA’s director of elite development from 2012 until 2018 before a move to Brighton.

After an impressive spell on the south coast in which he oversaw the club’s stellar recruitment, Ashworth moved to Newcastle in 2022 but now .

Over the weekend, Ashworth informed his employers that he wanted to move to Manchester United and was immediately placed on gardening leave.

could now be required to but if his track record is anything to go by, he could well be worth the price.

Who are Dan Ashworth’s biggest signings?

Here is a look at some of the biggest and best signings made under Ashworth’s various stewardships…

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku had a fruitful loan spell with West Brom (Picture: Getty)

Having made a move to Chelsea the year prior, Ashworth and West Brom made the shrewd decision in 2012 to bring the then-young Belgian to the Hawthorns on loan.

And what a masterstroke it proved to be as Romelu Lukaku notched up 17 Premier League goals throughout the campaign – more than any Chelsea player that season – including a hat-trick against Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge of Manchester United.

Peter Odemwingie

Peter Odemwingie was another bargain buy for the Midlands club (Picture: Getty)

Playing in the same West Brom team as Lukaku was Peter Odemwingie, brought in for a measly £1.5m from Lokomotiv Moscow a few years prior in 2010.

The Nigerian made an instant impact, registering 15 goals in his first season at the Midlands club as they went on to finish 11th in the Premier League.

To date, Odemwingie remains the top scorer for the Baggies in the top flight with 30 goals, helping them also finish 10th and 8th in subsequent seasons under Roy Hodgson and Steve Clarke.

Marc Cucurella

Marc Cucurella was sold to Chelsea for a hefty profit (Picture Getty)

Following his move to Brighton, Ashworth helped establish a world-class recruitment team focusing on bringing in high-potential players from abroad and eventually selling them on for a profit.

Left-back Marc Cucurella was one of the first success stories of this model, brought in for £15m from Getafe and winning the club’s Player of the Season award at the end of his first year.

Amid interest from Chelsea, the Spaniard departed for Stamford Bridge for £55m that summer, an impressive £40m profit on a player who has struggled to replicate the success he enjoyed on the south coast with the west London club.

Moises Caicedo

Moises Caicedo signed from Independiente del Valle in 2021 (Picture: Getty)

If Cucurella was the blueprint, then Moises Caicedo is the shining light for Brighton’s recruitment policy under Ashworth.

Plucked for a bargain £4m fee from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle, Caicedo would go on to become one of the league’s best midfielders in a matter of seasons.

With Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all fighting for his signature, Brighton were able to secure a record British transfer fee of £115m when the midfielder moved to Stamford Bridge in August 2023.

Kaoru Mitoma

Karou Mitoma is now on the radar of many top clubs (Picture: Getty)

Karou Mitoma is still a Brighton player but that may not be the case for too much longer.

Brought in under Ashworth’s reign for just £2.5m from Kawasaki Frontale, the Japanese international has established himself as one of the league’s best wingers under Roberto De Zerbi’s tutelage.

The 26-year-old has three goals and four assists so far this term and has attracted interest from a host of top clubs.

Nick Pope

Nick Pope has been a mainstay in Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side (Picture: Getty)

Following his move to Newcastle, Ashworth and his new recruitment team quickly swooped for Burney’s Nick Pope following the Clarets’ relegation to the Championship.

A meagre £10m fee proved to be superb value for the England international who went on to form the best defence in the league in his first season as the Magpies secured a spot in the top four and a return to the Champions League.

Sven Botman

Sven Botman has been a rock at the back (Picture: Getty)

Joining just a few days after Pope’s signing, Sven Botman joined Eddie Howe’s side at St James’ Park for £35m from French club Lille.

The Dutchman, like Pope, has gone on to become a fulcrum of Newcastle’s defensive efforts throughout his two seasons with the club.

Alexander Isak

Alexander Isak was a big-money purchase (Picture: Getty)

Ashworth’s biggest fee throughout his career was the club-record £63m paid for Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak in his first summer at the club.

Newcastle already had Callum Wilson in their ranks but the young Swede has proved the perfect compliment to the Englishman, eventually usurping him in the pecking order.

Having notched up 10 goals in his maiden season, Isak has already found 10 in his injury-affected second campaign and looks set to become a mainstay at St James’ Park for many years to come.

Antony Gordon

Anthony Gordon has proved a lot of people wrong (Picture: Getty)

The following January, Everton youngster Anthony Gordon made the switch to Newcastle for a fee of £45m.

The Englishman had shown promise at Goodison Park but the reported figure raised eyebrows given he had notched up just seven Premier League goals.

After a slow start in the 2022/23 season, however, Gordon has proven many of the doubters wrong in his first full season at Newcastle, registering eight Premier League goals already and more than justifying the decision from Ashworth to bring in the pacey winger.

Sandro Tonali

Sandro Tonali’s move hasn’t gone quite to plan (Picture: Getty)

The Magpies’ big summer signing in 2023 was the acquisition of AC Milan’s central midfielder Sandro Tonali for £55m.

The Italian settled quickly into life in the north east but his exciting start came crashing to a halt when, in November, he was from his time in Milan.

The move is perhaps one of the few black marks on Ashworth’s otherwise impressive CV and one the Englishman will be hoping to avoid again when he makes his seemingly inevitable move to Old Trafford.

.  and .