Speaking on The Atlhetic’s latest podcast, George Caulkin has broken his silence on the takeover front – and his comments offer some encouragement to us NUFC fans hoping (and praying!) for good news.
The reliable North-East reporter believes the ‘finishing line is in sight’ and that interest is ‘genuine’, with most aspects of the deal in ‘agreed’ and just a few ‘stumbling blocks’ in the way.
With that in mind, he stresses that if it doesn’t happen this time, it’ll be down to one man – Mike Ashley – suggesting the buying side are willing, capable and ready to complete a deal this time around.
Here’s what he’s had to say, believing it’s now ‘make your mind up time’ for Mike Ashley:
“My understanding is that everything that has come out over the weekend is right and that this has progressed to a stage where the finishing line is in sight.
“But, the key point AGAIN is to say that it hasn’t got to the stage where it’s been signed and agreed, even though a lot of things have been agreed during these conversations that have been happening.
“This is something that’s been on the cards for months. My understanding is that this goes back a lot further (than four months).
“Staveley’s interest in the club has never gone away (since her 3 bids two years ago) and this latest incarnation has been around certainly since before Benitez left last summer – but it’s really ramped up in the last few months and weeks.
“Obviously the game changer this time is the involvement in Saudi Arbai’s sovereign wealth funds – and none of this stuff has been denied, whether it’s from the club’s side, or from Ashley’s side or Saudi Arabia.
“So there is a widespread assumption that this is genuine.
“My understanding is that it’s got to the stage it’s pretty much make your mind up time (for Ashley).
“Things like price has been agreed and most of the big details have been agreed – there’s still a few stumbling blocks – but in the context of a deal like this, I think if it was any other kind of deal in the financial world, you’d be pretty much saying it’s done.
“However, this isn’t done…yet…
“Again, everything I’m told is if it doesn’t happen this time, it’s because of one man.
“It’s not some amazingly devious trick from the mind of Keith Bishop. They are genuine people who’ve been trying to buy the club for a long time.”
A typically insightful update from one of the regions most trusted writers – and a man who not only interviewed Amanda Staveley two years ago but saw proof of her bids.
It really does feel like this is Ashley’s biggest and best chance to sell up once and for all.
Fail to do so this time and you’ve got to wonder if it’ll ever happen..