We’re now a week on from the huge takeover claims that emerged last Sunday, with several reports stating a £350m move from Sheikh Khaled was a ‘done deal’.
Since then, the Bin Zayed Group have released TWO statements, claiming talks with Mike Ashley, ‘agreed terms’, proof of funds and that official documents had been signed between the two parties, and sent to the Premier League as a result. In the mean time, just about every local reporter has been cautious and relatively quiet.
So, why do I believe a takeover is happening this time? Because of the total lack of response from both Newcastle United and Mike Ashley.
If someone is publicly claiming something that’s completely untrue, you would come out and deny it, wouldn’t you?
Ok, it’s claimed Mike Ashley has signed a NDA (non-disclosure agreement), so an element of his silence is to be expected – but this only if these BZG claims are true. After all, don’t you think he would have SURELY called them out and abandoned talks completely if what they were claiming was complete and utter nonsense?
One possible concern is that the Bin Zayed Group may have failed to adhere to a NDA, with them being VERY public about the deal in their confident and revealing statements. That said, if Ashley felt he was being professional in his silence (e.g respecting the NDA) and they weren’t, surely this wouldn’t have been allowed to drag on for several days and all the takeover talk from the Middle-East would’ve been nipped in the bud.
An example: If someone came out and claimed Rafa Benitez had agreed a new deal with the club, don’t you think there’d be some form of communication from the club if it was totally jumping the gun? Even if it was the club briefing local papers like the Chronicle, there’d be some form of ‘club source’ setting the record straight.
Mike Ashley is a poor communicator when it comes to all things NUFC – us fans, the players and Rafa Benitez know that – but would he really sit there and allow someone to claim they’re close to doing a huge £350m deal with him? On that note, I’ve also been told by several people who have experience of Dubai businessmen that a group like the BZG would be the LAST people happy to leave themselves open to bad PR – and this would be horrific for their credibility if it were all false.
What have they go to gain by making this all up? And, although some are cynical (and rightly so), I don’t see why Ashley would be doing this just to allow Rafa’s deal to run down and avoid spending this summer. This time around, it just wouldn’t be in his interests to do that, and his recent financial losses suggest to me that he might just need a sale so he can focus on other business ventures elsewhere.
In short, the Bin Zayed Group’s confident claims and official statements have now existed for several days and there’s been absolutely no denial; just ‘scepticism’ from the press. Doesn’t that tell us something?
Maybe it isn’t ‘imminent’ and the scepticism is based on the idea their claims are excessive and an extension of the truth, but the silence feels golden to me as far as how genuine their interest / hopes of a deal being done are concerned.
After recent failed ‘attempts’ to buy the club from Amanda Staveley and Peter Kenyon, I wouldn’t blame any fan for remaining pessimistic about any proposed takeover, however I can’t help but feel things are different this time around.
Will it be third time lucky for NUFC? Let’s hope so.