Michael Chopra has revealed that he had a buyer interested in taking charge of Newcastle United but claims that the club “don’t really want to sell”.
The former Magpies striker admitted that he had a Saudi businessman who had the ambition to take over the club from Mike Ashley, and was even in touch with Lee Charnley at one stage.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Chopra said: “I had a guy from Saudi Arabia that was very interested in the club. We spoke to Lee Charnley, Lee Charnley put me in touch with Andrew Henderson, Mike Ashley’s lawyer. So, then we’ve called him up, we wanted the mandate from Andrew Henderson to speak to the guy in Saudi about buying the club.
“Andrew Henderson said if he’s got that much money, is a royal out there, tell him to fly to London to see me.
“From that, I get that they don’t really want to sell the club.”
The Bin Zayed Group were reported by the Sun to have agreed a £350million deal to take over at St James’ Park, with two months passing since and no take over completed.
Ashley has overseen the departure of Rafael Benitez and is set to appoint former Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce as the club’s new manager, according to journalist Alan Nixon.
This comes as no real surprise, with Ashley overseeing a number of failed takeover bids in his past. The controversial owners’ reluctance to part ways with the club could highlight potential problems with the ongoing takeover saga including the Bin Zayed Group. The group have expressed that they have completed every aspect required to complete a takeover but yet no news has been released confirming anything at this moment in time. The fact that Ashley has been reported by the Sun to have paid compensation to Sheffield Wednesday for Bruce and his staff could highlight that he is sticking around for at least the season. That would be the worst possible news for every Newcastle fans, with Chopra’s admission only highlighting the fact that Ashley is more reluctant to sell the club than is reported. If Ashley really wanted to sell the club, he would have – with Chopra saying that they were ready to have a meeting with his representatives. Newcastle fans must prepare for the worst, and that is the possibility that Ashley could be watching the game against Arsenal on the first day of the season.