Ashworth’s work at United won’t yield immediate results, warns Barnes

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Today, we had the chance to speak with John Barnes, the former Newcastle winger, who shared his insights on Manchester United’s interest in Newcastle Technical Director Dan Ashworth and the potential impact Ashworth could have under the INEOS ownership. He also shared his thoughts on the rumours linking Philip Billing to the club, as well as the viability of Newcastle’s aspirations for a top-four finish.

In this article:

  • Ashworth’s work at United won’t be immediate warns Barnes
  • Billing would be a good signing for Newcastle
  • Newcastle could still finish in the top four
  • Barnes warns Newcastle they could lose out on Guimaraes

Ashworth’s work at United won’t be immediate warns Barnes

Newcastle United’s Sporting Director, Dan Ashworth, has been put on gardening leave following his expression of desire to join Manchester United, signalling a significant step in United’s efforts to revamp their club structure. Having served as Sporting Director at St. James’ Park for just 20 months, Ashworth’s potential departure could represent a considerable loss for Newcastle, given his notable contributions in attracting quality players to the club over the past two seasons. This move raises questions about the impact on the Magpies, particularly in terms of maintaining their recruitment momentum and strategic planning. On the other hand, Manchester United stands to gain from Ashworth’s proven expertise in talent acquisition and improving the structural outlook of the club.

“For the long term of Manchester United, it’s very important for Manchester United but I don’t think hiring Ashworth will change things overnight for them. As things stand United still have the same players and it’s not as if Ashworth will be coaching them.

“Ashworth is a long term hiring for the future of Manchester United from a structural perspective. Things won’t change this season but it’s a long term plan for the club which is promising.”

Given Dan Ashworth’s impressive track record at West Brom, the English national team, Brighton, and Newcastle, his impact at Manchester United could be substantial. Ashworth has demonstrated a keen eye for talent and a strategic approach to player development and recruitment, qualities that could significantly benefit United as they look to strengthen their squad and infrastructure. John Barnes rightly points out that the role of a technical director or sporting director can differ greatly between clubs, making Ashworth’s potential adaptation to Old Trafford an intriguing prospect. The specifics of his role at Manchester United will be crucial in determining how he can apply his expertise and vision to the club’s unique challenges and ambitions.

“I don’t know how much influence Ashworth will have at the club. Arteta, Klopp and Guardiola decide who to bring in in terms of players but United may decide to do things differently and give Ashworth and his team the scope to have an influence on which players come into the club.

“United may decide to alleviate pressure from ten Hag in terms of letting him get on with the coaching of the players and allow Ashworth to work on the bigger structural aspects of United which he’s done at Brighton and West Brom.

“The issue is that at clubs such as Brighton and West Brom the managers may have allowed the Director of Football/Sporting Director to have that influence. Would ten Hag allow that or would they want to be the main man?”

Billing would be a good signing for Newcastle

In other news, Newcastle have been linked with a potential summer transfer for Danish international Phillip Billing. The Dane currently has a valuation of around £15 million. Billing has made a name for himself at Bournemouth, earning a reputation as a highly regarded midfielder in the Premier League. Barnes, too, appreciates Billing’s talents but cautions that his signing isn’t a floor raising signing for the club. While Billing could contribute positively to the team, Barnes suggests that his addition alone may not be transformative for Newcastle’s ambitions.

“I like him. He’s tall, he’s left footed, he’s rangy. He’s a decent player but if he goes to Newcastle I don’t think it’s a transcendent signing that will help Newcastle get into the top four.

“He’s a good Premier League player who can do a good job and if Eddie Howe likes him then I think that would be a good situation.”

Newcastle could still finish in the top-four

Newcastle currently find themselves 8th in the league table. Behind Brighton, Manchester United, Tottenham and Aston Villa in the hunt for fourth. Aston Villa currently have a hold on fourth in the table. 12 points off Unai Emery’s team. So what should be the realistic expectations for Newcastle for the remainder of the season?

“I don’t think United or Villa are playing consistently well enough so I think Newcastle could still catch up to both sides.

“Tottenham are favourites for the fourth spot and they drop points too so I don’t think we can write Newcastle off just yet. None of Newcastle, Villa, United or Tottenham have done enough yet but Tottenham are probably the most consistent of the four teams.”

Newcastle are priced at 28/1 on bet365 to finish in the top-four of the 2023/24 Premier League season, which could be a tempting bet for some punters. If you’re not already signed up to bet365, then head over to our bet365 bonus code page, which has you covered with everything you need to know about this operator.

Barnes warns Newcastle they could lose out on Guimaraes to City

If Newcastle fail to secure European football for the next season, retaining players such as Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak could pose a challenge. Both players have significantly uplifted the club’s standards, particularly with their technical ability. Barnes has expressed concern that Newcastle might be at risk of losing Guimaraes if they do not compete in European tournaments next season.

The allure of playing in European competitions is a strong incentive for top players, and its absence could potentially lead to Eddie Howe’s key talents seeking opportunities elsewhere. I think Newcastle can hang onto Isak because I don’t think any of the top three or four sides will go for him.

“Guimaraes is different because he’s played very well for Newcastle and he’s their talisman. City have been interested in the past and could he resist a move to City? Isak will stay at Newcastle.”

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