Tue 20 Feb 2024, 11:59 · Ash Harrison

Report: Dan Ashworth was the reason Newcastle United didn't sign James Maddison in the summer

Report: Dan Ashworth was the reason Newcastle United didn't sign James Maddison in the summer
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Dan Ashworth is now officially on gardening leave as Newcastle United await a formal approach for the Sporting Director from Manchester United.

Since it was announced that Ashworth would be leaving his role as Sporting Director after less than two years in the job, people are starting to question what he's actually done in that time and indeed how much influence he actually had at the club.

The fact that Ashworth wasn't given as much control as he was expecting has been reported as a big part of what made him want to leave in the first place.

What has Dan Ashworth actually done for Newcastle in terms of transfers?

However when you look back on things, the best signings we've made under the PIF regime were ones that were brokered before Ashworth even joined the club, so what did he actually do when it came to transfers?

Elliot Anderson
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Dan Ashworth believed Elliot Anderson was perfect for the number 10 role

A report in inews has suggested that Dan Ashworth talked the club out of buying a number 10 in the summer, instead insisting that Elliot Anderson could fill that role.

James Maddison had been hotly pursued by Newcastle for months leading up to the summer but the former Leicester City playmaker went on to join Tottenham where he had an amazing start to life in London until he picked up an injury.

Where would we be now if we'd snapped up James Maddison?

Instead, Newcastle brought in Sandro Tonali and we all know how that turned out. The number 10 we already had on the books, Elliot Anderson, hasn't kicked a ball since the 23rd of October when he played just 10 minutes in the game against Crystal Palace. The 21-year-old has since been out of commission with a back injury although is expected to return next month.

Granted, Dan Ashworth couldn't have foreseen Anderson's injury, and we're not ones to point fingers at Ashworth for not knowing about Tonali's gambling issues either, but we can't help but wonder how much better we'd have been had we signed James Maddison or someone similar.

So back to the original question, what has Dan Ashworth done for us (at least in terms of transfers)? The answer seems to be a very mixed bag. Talking us out of a summer signing who would have been perfect while bringing in a player who can't play now until next season. However, credit where it's due, he was also behind the likes of Anthony Gordon, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento and will have been involved in the Alexander Isak deal too.