Newcastle steal Dan Ashworth from Brighton in huge coup as Saudi owners begins summer plans before transfer spree

NEWCASTLE have swooped in to steal transfer guru Dan Ashworth from Premier League rivals Brighton.

The 51-year-old will take up the role of sporting director for the money-mad Magpies.

A statement from the Saudi-owned club read: "Newcastle United are delighted to announce that Dan Ashworth will become the club's sporting director after an agreement was reached with Brighton & Hove Albion to release him from his current contractual obligations with immediate effect.

"The terms of this agreement will remain confidential between the clubs and are subject to Premier League approval.

"Newcastle United will issue further information following the relevant approval process."

The Football Association's former technical director left a similar role on the south coast in February, but the two clubs have since been engaged in protracted negotiations.

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That led to the possibility that Ashworth, 51, could have had to see out the full nine months of his gardening leave with the Seagulls – meaning beyond the upcoming transfer window.

But the two Premier League clubs have managed to thrash out a deal, freeing up Ashworth to begin work on Tyneside as their new sporting director.

A Brighton statement read: "Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United have reached an agreement for the immediate release of Dan Ashworth from his contractual obligations at Brighton.

"The terms of this agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, will remain confidential between the clubs.

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"We would like to thank Dan for his services and wish him well for the future."

Ashworth is expected to more than double his salary by moving to St James’ Park where he will have considerably more resources at his disposal.

Brighton promoted David Weir from being charge of the club’s loan players to assistant to Ashworth last month.

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