As per a report from the Guardian, a Saudi-based takeover of Newcastle United is inching closer to completion, despite leaks throwing the entire deal into doubt.
Ashley’s turbulent reign
Current Magpies owner Mike Ashley has run the rule over proceedings at St. James’ Park for the last 13 years.
A somewhat surprising deal in 2007 saw the Sports Direct mogul purchase Sir John Hall’s 41% majority stake in Newcastle, for a fee of around £55 million.
However, to say that Ashley’s time at the helm of the Geordie outfit has since been tumultuous would be putting it lightly.
A lack of investment in the club has seen Newcastle relegated to the Championship twice over the space of Ashley’s reign, with the Magpies’ loyal fanbase having made their understandable frustrations increasingly-clear over recent seasons:
WATCH: Newcastle fans protest in the town centre against owner Mike Ashley ahead of today’s game v Spurs. pic.twitter.com/snrmAcWr3D
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 11, 2018
Newcastle takeover imminent?
As such, news this evening that negotiations over Newcastle’s sale are now well under way will no doubt come as music to the ears of the club’s fans.
As per the aforementioned report from the Guardian, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund are inching towards a Magpies takeover.
Dubai-based financier Amanda Staveley is acting as an intermediary in an attempt to push the deal through, with sources close to the situation now ‘90% certain’ that an agreement will be reached.
The fee involved is expected to be in the region of £340 million.
One potential stumbling block, though, comes in the form of the leak of the financial details of the potential deal to the media.
Mike Ashley is said to be unimpressed by this latest leak, with most major buyouts conducted ‘in blanket secrecy’.
Nevertheless, negotiations remain in progress, with further updates expected this week.
Saudi £340m takeover of Newcastle ‘90% certain’ but leaks threaten deal https://t.co/iYvdBEaLHy By Louise Taylor
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) January 26, 2020