Mike Ashley must be willing to invest more money into Newcastle United’s infrastructure if he is to make it an attractive prospect to potential buyers, according to Chronicle journalist Andrew Musgrove.
The controversial owner has staunchly stuck to his valuation of £350 million, despite several well-publicised failed takeover attempts, including a recent suggestion that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, did consider a bid for the club before opting to buy Ligue Un side OGC Nice instead, as reported by the Daily Mail.
And speaking on the Everything is Black and White podcast, Musgrove suggested that Ashley might have to do more to tempt in potential suitors.
He said: “Surely Mike Ashley needs to wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak.
“If he’s looking to sell, and he’s got Britain’s richest man saying ‘if I pay £350 million, I know I’m probably going to have to out in another £350 million just to get it to a competitive level’.
“Some people might argue, does Mike Ashley need to speculate to accumulate, and therefore put £20 million into the training ground that is purpose built and ready for a new buyer to come in? “
Something has to give in this takeover saga. The fact that there has been more than one recognised takeover attempt would suggest that either the price is too high, or that Ashley is difficult to work with. It might even be both. The main issue that the Toon Army have is that even if a buyer does rock up with £350 million in his back pocket, ready to make a bid and relieve Ashley of his duties, they will then have to find an exorbitant amount of money to get the rest of the club up to scratch. Years of Ashley’s stinginess has meant that they are not only behind in the depth and quality of their squad, but also that certain parts of their infrastructure is seriously lacking. The training ground is a prime example, and would need some proper investment to compete with some of the more modernised clubs in the Premier League. That might be too much for buyers to take on, and if Ashley could find it in his heart to spend a lump sum on the facilities, it would surely pay off form in the long run.