The Newcastle takeover talk didn’t exactly get to boiling point on Tuesday but there were definite signs that things could be warming up.
All of the major newspapers and Sky Sports had their say/angle and unless they are all wide of the mark, there does appear to be a clear understanding/consensus as to the gap that needs to be closed.
Leaving Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley to one side for a moment, one aspect that looks definite is that there are no rival bidders to Staveley and her investors.
Despite claims of up to five different bidders at one point and then reports of a number of them signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), nobody in the media has been able to point towards the identity of any of these phantom potential buyers, and indeed now nobody in the media is even seriously mentioning that there is any other show in toon.
The figures that are now being universally quoted are the Amanda Staveley speculators wanting to pay £250m, whilst Mike Ashley wants £300m minimum.
Despite all the talk of trying to buy/sell mid-season being problematic with relegation fears an issue in particular, the fact that the Ashley valuation appears to have come down from the £380m/£400m mark to around £300m has to give encouragement that a deal is possible.
For those sceptical that Ashley had any intention at all of selling, if he’d been entrenched on that kind of price (£380m/£400m) then certainly we were all wasting our time in hoping for possible change.
A willingness to negotiate has never been part of the Newcastle owner’s make-up in the past, whether in regard to a potential sale of the club or anything else.
I think we can take it as read that Ashley has shown indications of this (movement on price), as if the Sports Direct supremo was saying it was simply take it or leave on his valuation, there is no way that Amanda Staveley and her backers would have sustained their interest.
Whilst there is still a lot of scepticism as to whether a deal could be agreed before Christmas, or even during the season whilst the relegation issue clouds things, there is positive reporting on Wednesday morning that a relatively quick deal could be agreed.
Craig Hope who covers Newcastle United for The Mail says via his Twitter account: ‘If Amanda Staveley returns with offer of £300m for NUFC then Mike Ashley will listen & it is likely that deal can be done’.
This is on the back of his latest Newcastle takeover article where he says there is currently a stand-off between the two sides and that Mike Ashley definitely wouldn’t go near the £250m offer that was made over two weeks ago by Amanda Staveley and rejected by Ashley.
The Mail article also says that claims of any deadline imposed on the Staveley offer are wide of the mark and they will not walk away if the £250m isn’t eventually accepted.
It looks, and you would hope, that now the formalities have been completed and the opening moves have been made and countered, that the two sides are now ready to get down to the sharp end of things and do the deal.
Despite all the bluster from both sides, the two parties still look as though they definitely want the deal to happen and will both go some way surely to meeting somewhere between the £250m and £300m figures.
You feel that the final cards are set to be turned over and that can’t come soon enough.