Speaking to BBC Newcastle, football finance expert Kieran Maguire has claimed that Mike Ashley is looking for around £325m for NUFC – but believes he’s finally a ‘motivated seller’ and now willing to be ‘more flexible’ on price.
With the House of Fraser purchase and ongoing legal dispute with Glasgow Ranger to contend with, Ashley certainly has a lot on his plate – all self inflicted of course. Perhaps as a result he may finally be a more willing seller, but Newcastle fans will, quite rightly, remain skeptical.
Here’s what Maguire – who’s been looking at a potential sale in depth over the past year – has said when speaking to BBC Radio Newcastle this week:
“My understanding is that the price he is looking for is £325million so he might be willing to drop a little bit and others might be willing to go up a bit but at that price, Newcastle is looking a little bit expensive.”
“I think Mike Ashley is willing to be a bit more flexible in terms of price. He’s currently got an ongoing legal dispute with Rangers up in Scotland, there’s him trying to control House of Fraser and dealing with the landlords and consequences of shop closures which is taking up a lot of his time. The last thing he needs is Newcastle United on his hands as well.
“He’s not in love with the club and there’s nothing wrong with holding it for investment reasons but it’s not making a lot of money.
“It’s broken even for the first 10 years of his ownership. I think he’s willing to be a bit more flexible in terms of the price he’s looking for.”
The asking price has clearly been too high or Ashley hasn’t had the appetite to sell, as you don’t see such protracted takeover talk with any other Premier League sides who have been ‘up for sale’ over the last decade.
Ashley seems to be prioritising his time with ‘saving the high-street’, and whether that works or not won’t be the main concern for Newcastle fans. Let’s hope this year is different and there is an actual appetite to sell this time; perhaps even Ashley realises it is now or never.
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About Simon Riddlesden
Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.