UPDATE Dan Ashworth to Newcastle talks held: What makes a good director of football and what do they do?

Brighton and Hove Albion technical director Dan Ashworth has held talks with Newcastle on the director of football role

Brighton's technical director Dan Ashworth was given permission to speak with Newcastle
Brighton's technical director Dan Ashworth was given permission to speak with Newcastle

The Magpies have shortlisted Albion's technical director as a potential recruit for the director of football role at St James’s Park.

Last month Albion gave Ashworth permission to speak with Newcastle and the former FA's director of elite development continues to be one of the leading candidates for the mammoth task of leading the club forward following their recent takeover.

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No clarity has been given on Ashworth's immediate future and the Athletic reported although discussions have indeed taken place, no decision is imminent.

Why the need for a DOF?

There was a time, not so long back, when the director of football role was much-maligned and almost seemed to work against the head coach of manager.

Balancing the day to day operations, the need for instant results, media commitments, player recruitment, alongside long-term planning and strategy is simply not a role one manager can do.

18 of the 20 Premier League clubs currently have a director of football and if Newcastle appoint Ashworth (and Brighton replace him) that will take the total to 19 - with only West Ham without one.

Most are low profile and many of the media duties will be undertaken by the head coach but with the transfer window in full swing, much of the groundwork would have been carried out by the DOF - and in Brighton's case, Ashworth.

In the past this has been the main area of contention. Fans want to know who signs the players, is it the chairman, the head coach or the director. In other words who gets the credit when signings go well and who to blame when the club wastes their money?

In most cases, the director works with the head coach and it's about realistically providing the head coach with what they need in order to be successful. That has to be the priority as one cannot be successful without the other.

Where it can go wrong is if the trust between the two key figures breaks down - but that seems far from the case between Potter and Ashworth.

Often the head coach will identify an area that needs strengthening and ideally the director will come back with a preferred target plus a few alternatives.

The data, global scouting and often complex negotiations for transfers is far too time consuming for a head coach who has to prioritise the next match on a relentless fixture schedule.

But the best directors balance the needs of what of the coach needs now and also plans for the long term.

Brighton's recruitment over the last few years has largely been successful with the likes of Tari Lamptey, Alexis Mac Allister, Adam Webster, Joel Veltman, Leo Trossard and Neal Mauapy all playing key roles in the Premier League.

But the academy set-up is also key and youth development is vital for long-term success.

What Graham Potter said about Dan Ashworth

“He’s been great to work with. I didn’t know Dan before I came here. He’s fantastic at this job. He’s incredibly organised and links the club really well.

“He’s helped, I’m helped and we’re all helped by having a fantastic chairman who sets the tone for everything, provides a fantastic direction for us all, so we’re all able to do our jobs really well.

“Tony is really supportive of Dan, myself and everybody. Dan has been brilliant for me. I can’t comment on speculation but he’s been a key part of what we’ve done and helped incredibly with me and my staff. He’s played a huge role.”

Will Ashworth depart for Newcastle?

There have been unconfirmed reports that Ashworth has been offered £2m per year to take the role at Newcastle. The Magpies are the most wealthy club in the world following the Saudi-led takeover and a project of this scale could be tempting for the Brighton man.

Even if Newcastle did drop this season, the challenge to restructure the club and oversee one the largest transfer budgets in world football would be difficult to resist.

Ashworth however has the full backing of the chairman Tony Bloom and the board at Brighton and seems to work very well with Potter.

If offered the role at Newcastle, Ashworth would have to decide if he would want to give that up for the unpredictability but endless possibilities at Newcastle.