Mon 19 Feb 2024, 10:05 · Ash Harrison

The Dan Ashworth move is going to make or break Eddie Howe's Newcastle United career

The Dan Ashworth move is going to make or break Eddie Howe's Newcastle United career
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Dan Ashworth now seems to be on his way out of St James' Park after the sporting director put in a request to leave Newcastle United to defect to Manchester United.

It's a move that has been simmering away for months and is now close to reaching boiling point now that INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe has his claws in the Old Trafford club.

Ashworth told his current bosses he wants to leave and they responded by granting him his request by placing him on gardening leave until 2026 unless Man United cough up a huge sum of money - something they seem reluctant to do.

Eddie Howe now has the opportunity to get the players HE wants

With Dan Ashworth now pretty much out of the picture, recruitment is now going to fall fully on Eddie Howe's shoulders, at least in the short term.

Lewis Hall
Serena Taylor via Getty Images
Lewis Hall: Not an Eddie Howe signing

You don't need to be a club insider or a social media ITK wazzock to see that things have never really been right between Dan Ashworth and Eddie Howe, I mean, if they were, Ashworth wouldn't have dove off the side of the ship as soon as he saw a life raft on the horizon, would he?

The biggest indicator that the duo weren't on the same page has to be the signing of Lewis Hall from Chelsea. Signed on loan with an obligation to buy for a whopping £28million, you'd expect a player who commands that kind of fee to be given plenty of opportunity to shine, but Hall has remained on the bench pretty much all season despite all of Newcastle's injuries and the clear need for a change at left-back.

Our better transfer windows were the ones in which Ashworth was not involved

It's clear that Hall was an Ashworth signing that Howe didn't want. Now, with Ashworth out of the way, if there's no replacement brought in, Eddie Howe and his team will have to identify the targets for the summer transfer window and depending on how that turns out, it could be massive for his future at the club.

In fairness, though, our best transfer windows under the PIF project were the ones in which Dan Ashworth had little to no involvement, so it does bode well for Howe. Also, as I'm as old-fashioned as brown corduroy trousers, I believe the manager should be in charge of recruitment anyway - it's his team, he has to work with the players, he picks the system, surely he should always have the final say. Eddie Howe gets to be the King of his own Kingdom again.

Newcastle United social media right now is very much like that awkward few weeks after a breakup when you tell your mates "I never loved them anyway", there are not a lot of people singing the praises of Ashworth for what he's done at Newcastle and that's probably because, at least as far as we can see, he's done nowt. As Eddie Howe said on Friday, it's a job where you don't see results for a long time, so with Ashworth bailing out after less than two years, he's leaving behind a legacy of sweet F.A.