Crystal Palace battling to keep Dougie Freedman after Newcastle talks

Crystal Palace battling to keep Dougie Freedman after Newcastle talks

The Crystal Palace chairman, Steve Parish, is attempting to persuade Dougie Freedman to reject an offer from Newcastle to become their sporting director after the former Scotland striker held talks about replacing Dan Ashworth.

Freedman, who has also been linked with Manchester United thanks to his impressive record at Selhurst Park, met Newcastle officials last week and is understood to be weighing up whether to step into the shoes of Ashworth, who remains on gar­dening leave before an expected move to Old Trafford to become their ­sporting director. Parish is determined to retain the 49-year-old, who had successful spells as a Palace player and manager before returning as sporting director in 2017.

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Sources have told the Guardian that Parish is “doing everything he can” to keep hold of Freedman, who is said to be open to a new challenge after earning plaudits for his ability to spot emerging talent in the Championship and beyond. Newcastle are believed to view him as the perfect appointment to replace Ashworth and work alongside the manager, Eddie Howe, with the owners targeting a return to the Champions League after being knocked out in the group stages this season.

Freedman was heavily involved in the appointment of Oliver Glasner to replace Roy Hodgson in February, and the Austrian has five wins from the past six matches. Reports in Germany have claimed Bayern Munich are interested in speaking to Glasner about replacing Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season, although Palace are understood to be confident he has no intention of walking out on a contract that runs until 2026.

Glasner is believed to be keen not to allow transfer speculation about his squad to affect preparations for next season, although there is recog­nition in the Palace boardroom that the club may have to sell some ­leading players after their recent impressive performances. Michael Olise is attracting strong interest from Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, among others, and there is also likely to be more speculation regarding the futures of the England pair Marc Guéhi and Eberechi Eze.

Freedman controversially left his job as Palace manager to take over at Bolton in 2012 with Palace in contention for promotion – a decision he has said he has always regretted. “I knew I made the wrong decision very quickly into my Bolton career, but it was a decision I made and regrettably it was the wrong decision,” he said. “Looking back of course I wouldn’t have went, I would have stayed here and we would have had promotion [together] and it is probably one of the things that drives me on now. To make up for that disappointing decision I made.”