Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has agreed to sell the club to Dubai-based Sheikh Khaled Bin Zaid Al Nehayan, according to The Sun.
The newspaper report that Ashley has agreed to sell the club to Sheikh Khaled, who is the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour. for around £350million, and that contracts have been signed off and sent to the Premier League to ratify the deal.
It is believed that Newcastle have been the subject of failed takeover attempts in the past, but now Ashley is thought to be ready to sell the club ending a 12-year affiliation with the Magpies, with Sheikh Khaled, who is a senior member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, ready to takeover with his first job being to secure the future of manager Rafa Benitez.
It is thought that Sheikh Khaled was involved in an unsuccessful £2billion takeover attempt of fellow Premier League side Liverpool last year, and that the Dubai billionaire is ready to invest funds into the club should the takeover of Newcastle be completed.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with the ownership of Newcastle over the next couple of weeks, with the future of Benitez likely to hugely impacted by any impending sale of the club. The Spaniard has been in talks with Newcastle’s board over his future with the club and is thought to be wanting more freedom in the transfer market, which could well be provided if new owners take over the club. However, the club have been in talks previously over Ashley selling Newcastle, which have ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. Newcastle supporters will be hoping that on this occasion a deal can be concluded and the Magpies can begin to move on under new owners who are prepared to bring greater investment to the first team squad at St James’ Park. Any sale would end Ashley’s 12-year stint as Newcastle owner in which the club have been relegated to the Championship twice, that and a lack of investment in the first team has lead to many fans becoming frustrated with the club’s current regime. They will be hoping for a change that can make a positive impression and help take the club to the next level.