Graham Potter's 'fantastic' message to Dan Ashworth amid ongoing Newcastle talks

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter described technical director Dan Ashworth as 'top operator' amid links of a move to Newcastle

Albion's technical director Dan Ashworth has been linked with a move to Newcastle

Ashworth, 50, was this week granted permission by Albion to enter talks with the Magpies as they interview candidates for the director of football role at St James' Park.

It's an intriguing opportunity for the former FA and West Brom man who - if offered the position - would be tasked with overseeing the significant rebuild at Newcastle.

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The Magpies, who are in the midst of a relegation battle, are the most wealthy club in world football following the recent takeover by a Saudi-led consortium.

Ashworth has been a key figure at Brighton since joining three seasons ago. He was instrumental in bringing head coach Potter to the club from Swansea and also experienced midfielder Adam Lallana on a free transfer from Liverpool.

Ashworth has helped transform the club's transfer policy and the likes of Tariq Lamptey, Adam Webster, Joel Veltman, Leo Trossard and Neal Maupay have all been signed on his watch.

"As I have experienced myself sometimes, things appear in papers which aren't the truth, it's just speculation," said Potter when asked if was concerned that Ashworth might leave.

"It doesn't surprise me with Dan because he is a fantastic person. And from my experiences with him, he is a top operator, so we are lucky to have him here.

"And long may that continue. But I can't speculate on speculation."

Ashworth started his career in football as a youth team player at Norwich City and is now one of the game’s most respected technical directors.

He went on to serve Norwich, Peterborough, Cambridge and West Bromwich Albion in a number of development roles.

He left his role at Hawthorns in 2013 for the position at The FA before joining Brighton in 2019.