A busy morning in terms of Newcastle takeover reports which kicked off with an ‘exclusive’ from The Times.
It claimed that Amanda Staveley had made a £250m offer to buy Newcastle but that a deadline was attached which meant Mike Ashley had until a week before Christmas to accept.
The urgency said to be needed so that a deal could be completed and approved by the authorities, to allow enough time for the new owner(s) to be able to help Rafa Benitez strengthen the squad in the transfer window (runs from 1 January to 31 January – Inclusive).
As often happens, one newspaper running a new ‘update’ on the Newcastle takeover then leads to the others giving their own updates. Which usually consists of either rubbishing their rival’s exclusive and/or giving a slightly/totally different opinion on what is allegedly happening.
The Times story came from their London head office but encouragingly, their local man George Caulkin, who is usually one of the most reliable sources, says that whilst Mike Ashley has no interest in accepting £250m, he does though want to keep negotiations going, as does the Amanda Staveley led bidders.
George Caulkin also states that from an agreement being reached it should take around a month for the deal to be completed, which does fit in at least with the original Times story of mid-December as at least a target for agreement, if the January transfer window is to stand a chance of being a positive one for Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle fans.
One of the other newspapers to follow-up on this morning’s Newcastle takeover talk coming back to the surface is The Mail, with their man Craig Hope giving his own take on what the position is. Whilst The Mail might not have the greatest reputation in football generally…their man in the north east (Craig Hope) has broken a number of exclusives that have happened at St James Park in recent times and like George Caulkin, appears to have decent sources when something is stirring.
His piece this morning for The Mail agrees with George Caulkin that there is no chance of Mike Ashley accepting the £250m offer and he adds that this offer was actually made two weeks ago.
The good news though is that Hope understands that both parties are still keen to get a deal done, whatever time it takes it do it.
However, Ashley is only wanting to sell for at least £300m.
With there understood to be no other active bidders for Newcastle United, it does look to be the only show in town.
Whilst you do have to pay your money and take your chance on what you believe, the positive undercurrent this morning to all the reporting has been that both sides are still looking to get the Newcastle takeover done.
Putting the club up for sale two months into the season was described as ‘opportunist’ on the part of Mike Ashley by former Liverpool MD Christian Purslow, when commenting last night on the possibility of a deal being struck before Christmas. His belief being that Ashley saw a possibility of a quick sale on the back of the encouraging early season results, achieved despite the lack of squad investment in the summer.
Purslow then adding that this approach had backfired on Mike Ashley, with then a run of negative results making the club almost impossible to sell during the season, as nobody would pay top dollar when not knowing for sure whether they would have a Premier League or Championship club come May.
The club just feels as if it is adrift at the moment with the takeover awaited, Rafa Benitez has done a very good job in holding things together so far, but that can’t go on much longer with a few key injuries (especially Lascelles and Merino) having helped expose how desperately short of quality the Newcastle squad is.
If the takeover happens then it would surely give everybody a massive lift, with Rafa Benitez, his players, and the fans, all knowing that at last what is happening this season can be the first step towards something far far better in the longer-term.