After American outlet ‘Betaville’ claimed today that Mike Ashley was close to finalising a deal to sell Newcastle United to a US consortium, club sources have now told the Chronicle that it’s ‘business as usual’ at NUFC – suggesting no sale has been agreed yet.
The story from the States said the following:
“Betaville hears from usually reliable sources the maverick entrepreneur (Mike Ashley) has been over in the US putting the finishing touches to a deal to sell the business to a mystery consortium of investors.
“It’s not clear who the buyers for are but the fact that Ashley was over in America to finalise the details implies that perhaps the purchasers for the Premier League club are from that part of the world.”
These claims have been swiftly checked out by those at the Chronicle, with them now stating that club sources have said it is ‘very much business as usual’ at NUFC – suggesting that no sale is imminent:
“Betaville’s claims have been put to club sources, who insist that it is very much “business as usual” at NUFC. Nobody internally at St James’ Park has been briefed that a potential takeover is imminent, while Ashley attended his seventh Magpies match in a row at the weekend when he watched Newcastle defeat AFC Bournemouth 2-1 on Saturday – despite these reports claiming he has been in the US.
“Ashley himself also told players at an Italian meal last month that he did not expect to sell the club this season, while senior Magpies sources stress they are still planning for the billionaire to remain in place for the “medium term”.
“However, such is the advanced level at which takeovers are negotiated, those within St James’ Park may not even know the delicate nature of discussions which Ashley may be undertaking. The Sports Direct businessman has only a small inner circle of trusted confidantes, meaning club employees will probably only find out the club is being sold once it a deal all-but agreed.”
The last chunk of the above snippet is interesting, suggesting that those at St James’ Park may be unaware of any deal until it’s all-but done. With this in mind, there could yet be something in these claims from America.
It’s hard to know what to believe when it comes to the takeover, however it is worth noting that a big piece by The Mail’s Mike Keegan recently suggested that there IS an American group of investors willing to buy Newcastle – claiming they had the funds to match Ashley’s asking price but would only do so IF our Premier League status looked more secure.
Considering we’ve got 7 points in our last three games since this was written, this interest from America *MIGHT* just have resurfaced.