Mike Ashley is now ‘seeking clarity’ from Sheikh Khaled according to the Press Association, with him keen to know just how much progress the Bin Zayed Group have made as they push to complete a takeover.
It’s stated that he’s wanting to know where several of the interested parties stand, however the Press Association claim that the Dubai-based billionaire is Ashley’s main focus.
The PA also claim that any final deal may yet be ‘several weeks, if not months’ away, with them also suggesting that the club could hand any new manager a ‘short-term’ deal at the club as a result. The former is a concern, but the latter hints that a takeover is very much in Mike Ashley’s immediate plans.
Here’s a snippet from Damian Spellman’s piece for the Independent, with the takeover situation reaching a key stage ahead of the club’s potential search for a new manager:
‘Newcastle’s search for a replacement for manager Rafael Benitez will be dictated by the state of play in Mike Ashley’s efforts to sell the club.
‘It’s understood that the Magpies’ owner is seeking clarity on the progress being made by interested parties, principally Dubai-based Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with which his representatives have been holding talks in recent weeks over a potential takeover.
‘At best, any conclusion appears to be several weeks, if not months away and that could mean appointing a manager on a short-term basis.‘
While it’s frustrating to hear that a takeover may be far from imminent and still some time away, the fact club may give Rafa’s eventual replacement a short-term deal suggests Ashley is still preparing for a takeover in the near future.
After all, any new manager would surely be given a longer-term contract if Ashley was planning to sit tight and take the club off the market?
That’s what you’d like to believe anyway, although it does make sense – even if this situation has now become made needlessly messy and complicated after the club’s unforgivable decision to let Rafa Benitez go.
That said, you can’t help but fear that this drawn out process feels like Groundhog Day and typical Mike Ashley. Is he playing a game once again in a bid to avoid spending this summer? Is he delaying the process for the BZG to buy time for his good pal Peter Kenyon to come back into the takeover mix?
Who knows, but one thing I do know is that a takeover has never felt more key.
We’ve already lost Rafa, but he’ll lose several of our star players and thousands of fans if he doesn’t sort this mess out soon.