Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is reportedly expecting to be given the ‘green light’ to finally complete a £300m sale of the club, to bring to an end his turbulent ownership of the club.
The 56-year-old – who took over the club back in 2007 – has become a much-maligned figure among the Magpies fan base, following a string of controversial decisions while at the helm, as well as a perceived lack of investment in the playing squad.
The Sports Direct owner had looked set to sell the club last summer, before the proposed new owners – a Saudi Arabian consortium, fronted by businesswoman Amanda Staveley – pulled out of the deal after the Premier League halted the sale.
A year on, however, Ashley is seemingly confident that the deal can now go ahead, the Sun reporting that he has told Staveley and co to be ‘ready to go within the month’.
The report outlines how the current Newcastle owner has been in a legal battle with the Premier League for just under a year after the takeover bid initially fell through, the businessman believing that the top-flight’s ‘Big Six’ are the key factor in blocking the sale.
Ashley’s belief is that those club’s fear the Magpies being taken over by state-backed wealth, as has been the case with Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners, who have helped spark a change in fortunes on the pitch, while also contributing to the revamp of the East Manchester area.
Newcastle’s potential new owners, PIF, are keen to do the same in the North East, the belief that they will be able to take control before the start of next season, with Ashley said to be ‘certain’ that he will win the ongoing case against the Premier League.
The report also suggests that the UK Government are keen for the takeover to go ahead, despite potential accusations of ‘sportswashing,’ due to a number of human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.