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Sir Jim Ratcliffe names first big transfer target for post-takeover revamp

The Ineos chief finds Newcastle's sporting director Dan Ashworth his top target for a similar position at Manchester United

Ratcliffe is set to take over the reins at Old Trafford following his £1.25 billion deal for a 25 per cent stake in the club. The deal is expected to be ratified in the coming weeks and will see him assume control of all sporting operations.

One of his top priorities is sourcing a new sporting director who can revamp and streamline the club’s recruitment strategy. Several names have been linked with this position but it appears that Ashworth, formerly associated with Brighton and The Football Association, has caught Ratcliffe’s eye.

Ashworth has emerged as United's top target for this pivotal role. His potential appointment comes amidst speculation that Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes could replace him at Newcastle.

Once in control at Old Trafford, Ratcliffe plans significant changes to United's off-field structure which may include roles for several members of his own team including Sir David Brailsford.

In a major revamp of the club's operations, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly calling Sir Alex Ferguson for assistance

There had been some speculation that Sir Alex Ferguson would have an influence on who would be pursued for such a role due to his standing within the club. This led many observers to believe that Dougie Freedman might be considered given Ferguson’s admiration for him and Freedman’s impressive track record in transfer market dealings while working with Crystal Palace sporting director.

However, it now seems more likely that Ashworth will be pursued ahead of any discussions between Ratcliffe and Ferguson about potential candidates.

The formal announcement of Ratcliffe's agreement with the Glazers, the current owners of Manchester United, has been delayed several times. It was initially expected to be made this week but further delays could push it back to after Christmas due to the festive period.

While there is much speculation and anticipation surrounding Ratcliffe’s takeover and his plans for Manchester United fans will have to wait a little longer for official confirmation. However, one thing seems certain - significant changes are on the horizon at Old Trafford.

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