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.