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Manchester United have made an approach to Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth, according to reports.

The Athletic has reported the 52-year-old has notified Newcastle he has been approached by the Red Devils but there has been no formal contact between the clubs.

Various media outlets have said the Old Trafford club want Ashworth to be in place this summer in time to oversee their transfer business.

Ashworth worked alongside England boss Gareth Southgate in his role at the Football Association
Ashworth worked alongside England boss Gareth Southgate in his role at the Football Association (Mike Egewrton/PA)

The former Football Association technical director looks an ideal candidate as incoming minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe moves to strengthen United’s football leadership team, with recruitment a particular area of focus.

The PA news agency understands poor player trading has been a key area targeted for improvement by Ineos as they prepare to take control of football operations.

Sales have been pinpointed as a concern on top of United’s missteps making signings ahead of Ratcliffe completing his deal to buy a 25 per cent stake, with an announcement expected next week.

The deal now has Premier League and Football Association approval, with the British billionaire making his mark while waiting to overcome those hurdles.

Ratcliffe has been a frequent visitor to the club and Ineos sporting director Sir Dave Brailsford has been an increasing presence since the deal was announced in December.

Last month United confirmed the appointment of Manchester City’s Omar Berrada as their new chief executive, with the club now seemingly focused on recruitment.

Ashworth has built an impressive CV in previous roles as sporting and technical director at West Brom and Brighton and spent four years as the FA’s director of elite development.

At Brighton, Ashworth oversaw the signings of Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Marc Cucurella among others, while at Newcastle his incomings include Alexander Isak, Sven Botman and Anthony Gordon.