Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has set a deadline of two weeks for potential takeover bids to make meaningful progress in a move which could be a significant update on the current state of affairs, according to Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles.
The reliable reporter, speaking to the Transfer Window Podcast and quoted by the Chronicle on their wbesite’s live blog (27/06, 11:40), has claimed that the Sports Direct supremo has demanded that a decision is made by potential suitors in the next fortnight as he starts to sweat over planning for the summer.
The exit of Rafael Benitez leaves him without a manager heading into July and Castles says that the owner will be realising the issues he faces if he is not bought out sooner rather than later.
He told the Transfer Window Podcast: “What I’ve been told is that Ashley himself has put a deadline on these discussions about a takeover for this summer and that he wants a decision one way or the other inside the next two weeks.
“Why? Because if a takeover is not going to take place, and I think the fact that a deadline is being placed on discussions suggests that none of these offers are as near to the line as they have been presented as being, if that deadline has been put in place it’s because Ashley realises if you don’t have a buyer as we get closer and closer to the edge of the transfer window, you have a problem.
“And if he doesn’t have a buyer, he’s going to have to manage the club going into next season.”
What Newcastle United fans want more than anything right now is answers from the club over what exactly is happening behind-the-scenes. Benitez’s confirmed exit came as a sucker punch to the Toon Army and the only light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel is that Ashley might be leaving St James’ Park courtesy of a takeover. It seems as though Ashley himself wants answers as to whether this proposed bid from the Bin Zayed Group is actually going to go through or whether he is going to be stuck with the Magpies for another summer – the last thing the supporters in the stands want. If the former of the two situations then Ashley can put all his eggs into one basket and ensure the transition takes place quickly and smoothly, giving the new owners time to stamp their mark on the club and appointing a new manager. If it is not going to happen, Ashley needs to start getting things prepared and that means finding a suitable replacement for Benitez.