The Independent’s Tony Evans has written a new piece on the Newcastle United takeover saga, explaining the current situation now the threat of relegation appears greater than ever.
According to his latest report, Amanda Staveley, Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the Reuben brothers are ALL intent on buying the club even if the worst happened this summer and the club dropped down to the Championship.
As The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards stated yesterday, The Independent insist that there will be no short-term ‘saviours’ while we wait to see if Steve Bruce can keep us up or not, but does believe a price renegotiation between the buyers and Mike Ashley could be straightforward if we did go down.
I’d love to believe it would be so simple should the unthinkable happen between now and May 23rd, however I struggle to believe our stubborn owner would happily take millions off his asking price – especially when he’s likely to believe we’d bounce back at the first attempt and soon be worth £300-£340m again.
The report also reveals that the buyers remain adamant that the political issues surrounding Saudi Arabia and Bin Salman should NOT impact any deal – citing that new findings over the murder of Khashoggi hasn’t impacted relations between Britain and Saudi Arabia.
Here’s a snippet from the piece itself:
‘Mike Ashley, the owner, has issued arbitration proceedings against the Premier League and is still keen to offload the club. PIF will not comment on the matter but the Saudis are understood to remain eager to complete the transaction.
‘Staveley’s courtroom struggles have no impact on Newcastle. The businesswoman is considering an appeal against the Barclays verdict – which would take the case into its 10th year – but whatever decision she makes will not affect her desire to become involved with the club. Neither would relegation. Sources close to the situation maintain that all parties in the consortium would still be interested even if the team are relegated to the Championship.
‘Those close to the takeover have always believed that the political wrangling should not affect the sale. The murder of Khashoggi has not caused an interruption of economic relations between Britain and Saudi Arabia and many in football do not see why the game needs to take a stance that is not being held by the government. The counter-argument is that sport is a community-rooted activity with wider moral and social obligations because of its history. That is unlikely to wash when there are millions at stake.
‘There are no saviours arriving from the Middle East in the short term. Steve Bruce’s undermanned and injury-hit squad need to rescue themselves.
‘The takeover could be done very quickly. All the preparation work that takes time before a transaction was completed last year. A price renegotiation would need to take place if the unthinkable happened and Newcastle went down, but the figures are straightforward and that would not take long.
‘The Premier League would need to give PIF an indication that they were ready to rubber-stamp their involvement. The consortium think that this will be the eventual result but the negative publicity does not help. There is no immediate sign of a change of situation for Newcastle. The only good news they can generate is with a couple of wins on the pitch.‘
It may be tiresome for many Toon fans to read yet another ‘update’ on the never-ending takeover saga, however this may at least offer some hope to those fearing relegation will end our Saudi takeover hopes.
My issue is that Mike Ashley could well stand firm on his £300m asking price and gamble on us being promoted immediately. After all, he’s always been a stubborn seller and will naively believe we could do it again after Hughton and Benitez brought us back at the first attempt.
This isn’t the first time it’s been reported that the Saudi consortium would STILL be keen in the even of relegation, but the whole situation remains impossible to predict, with the arbitration hearing, our Premier League status and Mike Ashley’s unpredictability all huge question marks hanging over the clubs head.