Bent: Newcastle quietly worried about relegation

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Darren Bent couldn’t be more spot-on by suggesting that Mike Ashley should sell Newcastle United now rather than waiting to see if they get relegated from the Premier League next season.

Newcastle are in a time of great uncertainty due to the lack of clarity over the ownership and are the only Premier League club not to make a single signing this summer as a result.

Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, the Tyneside club’s top two goalscorers last season, have both left and with the season now just weeks away from kicking off, there is still a sizeable bit of business to be done.

Although the Magpies are still without a manager after Rafa Benitez left last month, it would seem as though Steve Bruce is closing in on the job at St James’ Park [Paul Joyce], much to the dismay of many supporters.

Once Bruce arrives, that should speed up the process of signing new players.

However Sky Sports pundit Bent believes that Bruce is only being hired with the view to Newcastle suffering relegation next season.

It’s not a surprise, given the situation that the club is in, that the former Sunderland striker would say that because Bruce has a good record of managing teams up from the Championship.

If the Magpies hire Bruce and suffer the drop, they would be in the hands of a man who has won four promotions to the top-flight in his career and could be viewing the ex-Sunderland boss as an early appointment for that job.

In that case, Bent is baffled that Ashley wouldn’t sell the club now rather than seeing it’s value plummet if relegation is suffered.

“They lost one of their best players in Ayoze Perez, that’s a big blow, Rondon’s not signed, that’s another key player – it’s tough, it’s a real rebuilding shift,” Bent told Football Insider.

“The only thing I can think of that Newcastle have said to Steve Bruce is; ‘There is a chance we will go down this season. If we do, don’t worry about it, you’re the person to get us back up.’ Maybe they’ve got one eye looking forward.

“You think to yourself Mike Ashley’s best chance to sell the club is right now, their selling point is high as it is ever going to be – right now. If they go down, who is going to buy the club then?”

Ashley’s decision-making never seems to make sense, especially as someone who is supposed to be open to selling the club.

According to a report by the Sun in May, Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle to billionaire Sheikh Khaled, but if the club is going to appoint a new manager with a long-term plan in mind, is Ashley really interested in selling the club?

He’s put the club up for sale without the intention of completing a sale.

No one really knows why, especially as not a lot of this summer has made any sense whatsoever.

The sooner it’s all over and done with the better.

Bruce’s appointment seems imminent and nothing can be done about it.

Whoever he signs needs the backing of the fans and maybe, just maybe, that bunch of players will be able to avoid relegation.

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