Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has effectively taken the club off the market by demanding £400million to sell up, according to The Sun.
The newspaper report that Ashley has increased his previous asking price of £350million, with prospective buyer Amanda Staveley on the verge of ending talks.
The Sun claim that Ashley failing to sell the club this summer may lead to the departure of manager Rafa Benitez, who is demanding financial backing in the upcoming transfer window.
It is hardly surprising to hear that Ashley has raised his asking price for the club following the successful negotiation of their first season back in the Premier League. Rafa Benitez’s overachieving squad ended up finishing in tenth place this season, which is a fantastic achievement considering the lack of investment from Ashley himself. You would think that may lead to a change of tack from the Sports Direct tycoon, but that does not look to be the case, and matters now look worse with a sale seemingly off the cards. Many would have been hoping for Ashley to finally walk away from St. James’ Park this summer, with the club having been on the market for nine months or so now. However, it looks like the Magpies profit machine is too tempting for Ashley to let go without a fight, and that may lead to him remaining in charge past the summer. That eventuality may not be so devastating if he frees up funds for Benitez to spend, but if he fails to do so then it may spell disaster for the club if the Spaniard decides to turn his back on Tyneside.