As takeover talk rumbles on, local reporters are telling us that the club are claiming they’ve actually received ‘no bid’ as of yet from the Bin Zayed Group (BZG).
This does not add up – but the key in all of this could be that people at the club don’t actually know what’s going on; and only Mike Ashley does.
The statement from the BZG on Monday claimed that ‘terms had been agreed’ after talks with Mike Ashley – something the club did NOT play down and described as ‘genuine’ – and the latest statement arriving from the Middle-East yesterday made a whole host of huge new claims.
In this Thursday lunchtime statement, Midhat Kidwai – the managing director of Bin Zayed Group – announced that proof of funds were shown in mid April, also claiming that takeover documents had now been signed by BOTH parties and sent to the Premier League as a result.
These are big claims to be making up, and there’s only so cautious you can be about such an announcement when neither Mike Ashley or NUFC have come out to deny them over 24 hours later.
North-east reporters from the Chronicle (Lee Ryder), the Telegraph (Luke Edwards) and the Mail (Craig Hope) are stressing that there’s a lot of scepticism and caution STILL surrounding this deal, despite the BZG continuing to make huge claims, but if the club only know so much due to Mike Ashley’s silence, it makes you wonder just how much any of these local journalists could possibly know.
After all, the Bin Zayed Group are sounding adamant about this takeover and would be made to look absolute fools if it came out that everything they had been saying was a lie. Not only that, a friend of mine who lives and works in the UAE tells me these are the LAST people who’d want to be associated with awful PR. They’ve had a lot to say in their last two statements and these claims have existed since Sunday night now, yet the man they are talking about / with (Mike Ashley) has done nothing to play down their claims.
Don’t you think he would have by now if they were making things up? Not for the fans (we know he rarely keeps us in the loop!), but to clear his own name.
So, this leads me to believe that Mike Ashley either LOVES the exposure this ‘Sheikh Khaled takeover’ is getting and feels it’ll encourage another interested party to make their move / start a bidding war (hence why he’s refused to shoot down their claims), or something is genuinely going on in the background and they’re about to announce it.
There’s also a cynical argument that this is just a ploy to delay Rafa’s contract talks and eat into the transfer window, giving us less time to sign players, but I don’t see how that benefits him this time around.
If I’m being honest and putting my neck on the line, I think something’s genuinely going on. Why? Because I don’t believe that Ashley would stay silent for days on end if people were making several false claims about buying ‘his’ club.
Either way, it feels like he’s left the club, Rafa Benitez and our whole fan base wondering what on earth is going on – so let’s hope this has a happy ending after days of constantly refreshing Twitter and praying for an official breakthrough.