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Dan Ashworth: Newcastle sporting director believes there is ‘no ceiling’ to the club’s ambitions | Football news

Dan Ashworth says his dream is to help Newcastle to the top of the Premier League, but admits the level of spending at which the club has spent £210 million since January cannot continue at the same pace.

The club’s new sporting director helped break their transfer record by paying Real Sociedad a total of £63 million for Swedish international striker Alexander Isak, who has scored two goals in three games since moving to the big money.

Ashworth, who left Brighton earlier this year to take on the role following the club’s £300m Saudi-backed takeover, is aware that the club may need to be smarter in coming periods as they adjust the parameters. fighting FFP.

But he hopes that with future bigger revenue streams and further solid business, Newcastle can set its own intoxicating goals.

He said: “I don’t think there is a ceiling. But I’m pausing because I know how good the others are. If you look at Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal – how good their squads and infrastructure are – it’s some clubs to catch .

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Newcastle’s Premier League win over Brentford

“It’s difficult, but it’s possible. We have no God-given right, to go within one or two transfer windows. ‘Afraid, we would have to compete with the top four’. But things happen in football that are strange – look at Leicester.

“I knew how passionate the supporters were. But I’m still surprised – whether that’s coming across to get a sandwich or the 50,000 in the stadium.

“It was just too good an opportunity to turn down. Sometimes in a lifetime an opportunity comes along where you go ‘Wow! Blimey'”

“I want to be a sporting director competing for trophies in Europe, at the top of the league.

“It really surprised me how much the club means to Newcastle United supporters. I underestimated it. It was brilliant. I loved being here and loved the challenge.”

Ashworth admits the summer period was a ‘challenge’

NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 4: Newcastle United Head Coach Eddie Howe shakes hands with Sporting Director Dan Ashworth of Newcastle United after signing a new contract at Newcastle United Training Center on August 4, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)
Image:
Ashworth (left) works closely with Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe

Newcastle spent around £120 million over the summer on Isak, Matt Targett, Sven Botman and Nick Pope.

He said: “It was a challenge to be placed in a summer window without building relationships and understanding how the board works, how Eddie Howe works or how the recruiting works.

“Obviously you’re on a tight timeframe because the transfer window closes on September 1. So it was taking players off the books.

“Getting some players on loan from a development path perspective. Adjust contracts, such as Elliot Anderson, and the staff, Eddie Howe and some senior and youth recruits.

“So we brought in five older players and obviously goalkeeper Loris Karius came in after the deadline and we signed five players for the younger players.

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Eddie Howe tells how far Newcastle have come 12 months after their takeover

“I’ve been doing this job for 15 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever said the day after the deadline, ‘That was perfect and we got any position we wanted and everyone we wanted’.

“I would always like to have emerging talents in that category and younger players, and possibly one more to support the first team. But overall, [we are] very happy with the players we signed and the company we have [have] done.”

‘We need to scale up most departments and facilities’

Darren Eales, Newcastle’s new Chief Executive, has added Ashworth to the boardroom, with his task of raising more commercial revenue to aid in their battle with FFP.

The more Eales can bring in, the more Newcastle can spend in future windows. While admitting they will likely curb spending in the next few windows, the job of the former Atlanta United CEO is to make Newcastle a sustainable top six club.

Newcastle are currently sixth in the Premier League, ten points behind leaders Arsenal after consecutive comfortable wins over Fulham and Brentford.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Newcastle’s Premier League win over Fulham

But Ashworth is aware that the job at the club is huge, and in many ways football on the pitch is more advanced than some of the infrastructure work in the background.

He added: “I think anyone would admit that there are certain parts of the club that are run more on a skeleton and survival basis, such as ‘If we can stay in the Premier League, that’s good or enough’.

“That’s not enough anymore. That’s why you have to scale up most departments and facilities to reach our goals, which is to finish higher in the league, to compete for trophies and ambitious goals.

“[That is] the direction the club will take in the coming years. So there is a building up of structures and capacity to be able to realize that.”



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