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Manchester United shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe recently met with Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley to facilitate the finalization of the acquisition of sporting director Dan Ashworth, according to reports.

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Ratcliffe, who acquired a 28% stake in United earlier this year, now oversees footballing operations at the club. Following an internal restructure, Omar Berrada is poised to join from Manchester City as CEO this summer, while the departure of football director John Murtough from Old Trafford was confirmed earlier this week.

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Following Murtough’s exit, it was revealed that United intend to divide his responsibilities between two potential new hires – Southampton’s Jason Wilcox as technical director and Newcastle’s Ashworth as sporting director.

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While there is optimism that Wilcox could join United before the summer transfer window, as the compensation package required from Southampton is relatively minimal, Ashworth’s arrival is complicated by Newcastle’s demands. The Magpies are seeking £15 million to release him, or else he will face a lengthy 18-month period on gardening leave.

According to The Times, Ratcliffe has met with Staveley to resolve this ongoing deadlock, with hopes of a breakthrough in talks heightened by this personal intervention and the public announcement of Murtough’s departure.

Ratcliffe has been vocal about his desire to bring Ashworth to United, emphasizing that it would be “completely stupid” for Newcastle to resist his exit.

“I think Dan Ashworth is clearly one of the top sporting directors in the world, I’ve no doubt,” Ratcliffe stated in February. “He’s a very capable person. 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.

“We’ve obviously had discussions with Newcastle. They would clearly be disappointed to lose Dan. But what I do think is completely absurd is suggesting a man who is really good at his job sits in his garden for one-and-a-half years. That’s completely stupid.”

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