Jamie Carragher believes that the reported takeover at Sunderland is proof that Mike Ashley’s asking-price for Newcastle United is “unrealistic”.
According to the Chronicle, three investors from the USA, John Phelan, Glenn Fuhrman and Rob Platek, have agreed to buy a majority stake of Sunderland from owner Stewart Donald.
Newcastle fans have seen their club become the subject of three potential takeover bids but attempts by Amanda Staveley and Peter Kenyon failed due to Ashley’s £350million demands [Independent].
Sky Sports pundit Carragher reckons that Ashley is failing to attract serious bidders due to that asking-price.
“I have sympathy for Newcastle fans who want and demand more for their club. Whenever we discuss Newcastle we explore similar territory, Ashley unable – or more likely unwilling – to do what is necessary to maximise the potential of his purchase,” the Liverpool legend said on the Telegraph website.
“When you read about Sunderland on the verge of receiving investment from a consortium led by the world’s 25th wealthiest man, you have to ask why similar bids do not materialise at Newcastle? The accusation Ashley is setting an unrealistic price has merit.”
Carragher is right about Ashley demanding too much for the club but the comparison with what is going on at Sunderland isn’t exactly relevant. Firstly, according to the Chronicle, the world’s 25th richest man is not leading the consortium to buy the Wearside club. Michael Dell is said to be a “passive, minority investor” who does not look as though he will play much of a role at all in the goings-on at the Stadium of Light once the deal is done. Secondly, what happens with Sunderland’s takeover is totally different simply down to the fact that their owner is not as stubborn as Ashley. Ashley is ready to sell, but not ready to sell at the same time. If he wants to sell then he has to lower his demands but is he doing that? No, he isn’t. Ashley could drop those demands later in the season, perhaps around January, if Newcastle are struggling and looking as though they could go down, but that is a very tenuous ‘could’.