RED MIST

MANCHESTER UNITED’S new regime are making enemies across football with their ruthless recruitment drive.

Co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos Sport team have angered Newcastle and Southampton over their approaches for football chiefs Dan Ashworth and Jason Wilcox after also poaching chief executive Omar Berrada from Manchester City.

And Sunsport understands other clubs are unhappy about how Old Trafford chiefs are behaving as they seek to make appointments to key roles, with manager Erik ten Hag’s future still uncertain.

The perceived arrogance of United’s approach is the talk of boardrooms up and down the country.

Ratcliffe completed the deal to buy 25 per cent of United and assume sporting control of the club only six weeks ago.

But in February, furious Newcastle had placed sporting director Ashworth on gardening leave after he told them he wanted to move to Old Trafford.

In recent days, Saints were left reeling by the resignation of director of football Jason Wilcox, who has also been offered a senior position at United.

Wilcox previously worked under incoming United chief executive Berrada at the Etihad.

Berrada himself is also on gardening leave from City until the summer after his appointment by their local rivals was announced in January.

The approaches for Ashworth and Wilcox have left Newcastle and Southampton in a difficult position as they try to put together their own plans for the summer and beyond.

Both Ashworth and Wilcox have long notice periods – there are claims that former FA technical director Ashworth could in theory be kept out of United’s clutches for TWO YEARS.

United have also been told they must wait a YEAR to appoint Wilcox – unless they up their compensation offer.

The former Blackburn winger, 53, dramatically resigned from his role as director of football at Southampton on Monday in order to force through a move to Old Trafford.

United had angered the Championship club by offering a year’s salary as compensation.

Sources at Southampton claim the Red Devils were only given permission to speak to Wilcox on the condition their offer would be far more generous.

Wilcox has a 12-month notice period which Southampton – like Newcastle – are determined to stick to unless Manchester United return with an improved compensation offer.

United are adamant they have acted properly in relation to Ashworth and Wilcox. They believe they have made reasonable offers to buy both men out of their contracts and say they will not be held to ransom.

Prem rules says clubs need permission from rivals before approaching “any player, manager, assistant manager, head coach or other senior first team football coach”.

Both Ashworth and Wilcox fall outside those categories and in any case it is very rare for complaints to be made about the “tapping-up” of non-playing staff.

But Rule B15 states: “In all matters and transactions relating to the League each Club, Official and Director shall behave towards each other Club, Official, Director and the League with the utmost good faith.” – Sun

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