Only five days before Santa drops down the chimney and hopes of the Amanda Staveley bidders taking over at Newcastle any time soon, appear to be fading.
Last week brought conflicting claims (see below).
Firstly, it was widely reported that Amanda Staveley had increased her/their bid to around the £300m mark and that certain problematic contract clauses had been removed.
Only for the Financial Times to then claim that no increased offer had been made and indeed the bidders wanted to pay a lower amount, which would then be topped up if Newcastle stay in the Premier League this season.
The FT report also said that a risk assessment had been done by the Amanda Staveley group and they believed (before defeat to Arsenal) that there was a 65% chance of Newcastle going down this season.
Many Newcastle supporters would see the chances as non-existent of the club being sold until there is some clarity on which division the club will be competing in when August 2018 comes around.
Mike Ashley has held onto the club for ten and a half years now, going through two relegations, two promotions, a number of other relegation near misses, so very hard to see him now panic and sell for far less guaranteed money than he wanted back in the summer, or in October, before Newcastle went on a run of one point from 27 and ended up now in the bottom three.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that nobody would be willing to pay as much now in December, as they would have done when relegation was such an unlikely thought for most people, indeed the bookies have responded accordingly and see Newcastle now as one of the three most likely to be relegated.
So what would a relegation mean for the value of Newcastle United?
Well a new update on Wednesday morning has put a figure on that.
As well as believing Newcastle are 65% certain to be relegated, The Mail are reporting that the Amanda Staveley camp have put a figure of £125m as the difference between Newcastle being a Premier League or Championship club in May.
They also claim that the current position is that the bidders are offering £250m and Mike Ashley holding out for £350m.
If only Newcastle had picked an average of a point per game over these last nine matches then they would have been on 23 points and in the top half of the table. Relegation a remote possibility and any reporting on a possible takeover having a lot more clarity without that issue undermining it.
Personally, I think in this situation you would only get a sale happening in the near future if one of the parties was either desperate to sell quickly, or desperate to buy quickly. I just can’t see that being the case with Newcastle United as we speak.
We live in hope.
The Mag – 15 December 2017:
Wednesday brought breaking news (see below) that Amanda Staveley had increased the bid from £250m to £300m for Newcastle United, with some clauses also removed that could have been sticking points.
Sky Sports and all of the major newspapers published the story very closely together, suggesting that they had been briefed by one side or the other, or both sides, regarding a supposed step forward. The reports also suggested that transfer cash could be made available to Rafa Benitez in January before a final deal was concluded, with Amanda Staveley’s group allegedly agreeing to then refund Ashley after the event.
Sky Sports then followed that up on Thursday by claiming that their information was that despite an increased bid having been made, it still included a clause whereby Mike Ashley would have to pay back some cash if Newcastle ended up being relegated this season.
However, Friday morning has brought a very different exclusive from the Financial Times, which certainly isn’t as positive, though it does still claim that the two sides are still negotiating ad want to buy and sell.
The Financial Times report their information as being:
No improved offer was made by Amanda Staveley in midweek, that the reports were misleading and the original £250m bid is where they are still at.
As for a relegation clause, they say that the Staveley bid isn’t insisting on a relegation clause whereby money would then be refunded if relegation struck. Instead they want to pay a lower price and then if Newcastle stay up, pay Mike Ashley an extra amount at the end of the season.
The report also says that the potential buyers have taken advice and they believe that at the moment Newcastle have a 65% chance of being relegated, making it a very real threat.
Their sources have also told them that one or both sides may also want to wait and see what the outcome of the next Premier League TV broadcasting deals will be. The next three season deal to start in the 2019/20 season, is set to see figures announced in February (2018), meaning that a final deal may not be completed until May at the earliest.
However, they also add that there is still a possibility that is both buyers and sellers are prepared to reach a compromise, a deal could be completed far earlier.
Mike Ashley is the ultimate gambler but this is one where he is playing for very high stakes and if he oversees a third relegation and is still here in the summer, it may not be any kind of third time lucky when it comes to bouncing straight back to the Premier League.
The Mag – 13 December 2017
Breaking news on Wednesday lunchtime is that Amanda Staveley has increased the £250m offer to around the £300m mark and a Newcastle takeover is imminent.
Sky Sports have announced the imminent deal and various newspapers/media (Mail, Mirror, Independent etc) have also stated the same.
Suggesting that this is the result of a briefing and we are at last set to be released from the grip of Mike Ashley.
It’s reported that as well as the raised bid to around that £300m mark, certain clauses that Ashley wasn’t happy with have been removed, presumably the main one being compensation due if relegation happens this season.
The Amanda Staveley bid is also said to include a willingness to help fund January spending.
With a deal taking time to finally sign off totally, the reports say that Mike Ashley will fund Newcastle’s January spending but then be reimbursed by PCP Partners (Staveley’s company).
It is claimed that this arrangement should give Rafa Benitez some £30m to spend in January.
Previous reports had suggested February as the earliest a final deal could be concluded and the end of January is the timing for that in this latest welcome update.
On Tuesday, Rafa Benitez had yet again expressed his concern about the state of affairs concerning transfers.
The Newcastle boss saying he still had no idea how much, if anything, he would have to spend in January.
Hopefully this deal will now be quickly concluded AND we see a concerted effort by team, fans, manager, tea lady…to get the three points against Everton and make the relegation talk quickly recede.