Thu 28 Mar 2024, 14:59 · Liam Brusby

Two huge names identified as candidates to replace Dan Ashworth as sporting director

Two huge names identified as candidates to replace Dan Ashworth as sporting director
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Paolo Maldini and Newcastle United cult hero Hugo Viana have been named as two candidates to replace Dan Ashworth as Sporting Director.

Ashworth was placed on gardening leave after expressing his desire to leave the club to join Manchester United.

Since then, Newcastle have been working on finding his successor. It was recently reported that the club had hired consultancy firm Odgers Berndtson to help with the search.

It was believed that the firm had already identified a number of candidates for the role. Former Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell was also one of the names mentioned and remains the number one target.

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Credit - Getty Images

Mark Douglas of The I has reported that Maldini and Viana are among those who have been identified to take the role at the club.

Maldini spent five-and-a-half years at as a technical director at A.C Milan before being let go in December 2023. During his time, the Italian brought in the likes of Rafael Leao, Fikayo Tomori and Mike Maignan and was in his role when Milan won the Serie A title in 2021/22.

Viana currently works as the sporting director for Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon who sit top of Liga Portugal. Viana spent four years at Newcastle, playing scoring twice in 39 games.


Viana was responsible for bringing in Newcastle target Viktor Gyökeres who is flying at Sporting at the moment, the Swedish international has had 32 goal involvements in 22 games this season.

The cheaper option would be Maldini, as there wouldn't be any compensation. But Viana is a highly rated individual who has made the post his own at Sporting.

Newcastle are hoping that a new sporting director is brought in before the summer transfer window so they can hit the ground running and work closely with Eddie Howe.