The Dubai-based consortium have been heavily linked with a buyout of the Toon Army, but are yet to be granted exclusivity in their bid to do so, and Keys has claimed that other bidders are more likely to wrap up a deal.
Writing on his personal Twitter, he said: “I don’t think the Arabic bid is favourite.
“To the best of my knowledge there’s another bid that’s more likely.
“They’ve been looking at the books for quite some time now.”
First of all, it’s probably fair to say that Richard Keys is hardly Mr. Popular on Tyneside. His comments on Mike Ashley’s ownership in the past have fairly riled fans, and it’s easy to see why. That being said, he is based in the Middle East due to his work with beIN Sports, and even though he occasionally comes across as vehemently pro-Ashley, that doesn’t mean that this statement automatically false. The issue you have is that this will, for many, have confirmed what they have feared all along. If the Bin Zayed Group are not the most advanced party in terms of a takeover, then the chances are that everything they’ve said about being on the cusp of a deal is essentially wrong. Whether that means that another party is on the brink is hard to say, but the fact that no exclusivity has been granted at this point would certainly suggest that this one still has a way to go, if it ever gets there at all.