Dan Ashworth replacement identified as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s high Man United standards highlighted

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe (centre)
Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe (centre) -Credit:Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The Premier League season is coming to an end with just four league games left to play. It has been somewhat of a disappointing season for Manchester United, but they could still end it with silverware with an FA Cup final on the horizon.

While there is action still going on on the pitch, off it plans will be put into place for what could be a busy summer for the club. It will be the first summer transfer window under Ineos since their takeover earlier this season.

There have already been changes with Omar Berrada arriving as the new chief executive officer in the summer. Jason Wilcox has also arrived as technical director, joining from current Championship side Southampton.

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There’s perhaps no surprise that United continue to be linked with players ahead of the summer. But it’s not just on the pitch where the reports swirl around Old Trafford.

Reports on Friday centred around backroom staff and changes within the club. With that in mind, here’s some of the main stories to come out of the club, as well as our thoughts on them ahead of the weekend.

Newcastle identify Ashworth replacement - but there’s a problem

The Daily Mail report that Newcastle have turned to Crystal Palace sporting director Dougie Freedman as a replacement for Dan Ashworth, who looks likely to switch to Manchester United - but Freedman also has interest from United for a different role. It is said that United are eyeing the former Palace manager for a recruitment role, working under a sporting director and technical director.

However, the role offered by Newcastle would be a wider remit involving more aspects of the club. Freedman’s reputation has soared due to his role in Palace signing the likes of Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise.

MEN Sport says: The battle for Freedman with Newcastle could be an interesting one, given the clubs are yet to come to an agreement over a compensation fee for Ashworth. It’s something that United could potentially use in their favour.

If the club drop their interest in Freedman and move onto other targets for the recruitment role, that could potentially soften up Newcastle to let Ashworth go for a lower compensation fee. It remains to be seen if United are willing to drop their interest to do that.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s high standards highlighted

Sticking with the Daily Mail, it has also reported that Sir Jim Ratcliffe has sent an email to members of the staff after taking a look around the club’s training base. The newspaper shared the contents of the leaked email that they had claimed to see.

It read: “I had a good two-day visit to both Carrington and Old Trafford this week. As ever I was made to feel very welcome. Thank you.

“I had a good tour around some of the facilities. I am afraid I was struck in many places by a high degree of untidiness. In particular the IT department which frankly was a disgrace and the dressing rooms of the U18 and U21 were not much better.

“These standards would not come close to what we would expect at INEOS and we are a chemical company. Manchester United is an elite sporting organisation.

“It's a small thing in many ways but unless an organisation has standards and discipline it will not succeed.”

MEN Sport says: It is the small details that do add up to make a difference, and the high standards that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is holding every department of the club to will translate into other areas, including on the pitch.

The fact that he is being so thorough in his changes at the club only bodes well for the work that he does in changing the culture around the club. While it may seem harsh picking out specific departments, the leaked letter shows that every department is expected to adhere to the high standards that the new co-owner expects, even on the smallest details.