What’s the story?
While reporting on the injuries to Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, Edwards revealed that takeover talks had gone on hold and that the club is effectively no longer up for sale as they focus on retaining their place in the Premier League.
Indeed, it will surely be harder for Mike Ashley to bank his asking price (previously reported to be around £300m) should the club be relegated for a third time under his ownership.
Though Newcastle haven’t been in the bottom three since October 2019, this does feel like it was coming.
As Mark Douglas of The Chronicle recently pointed out, there were chances to change things by way of bringing in more players during the January transfer window, or potentially changing the manager.
However, much like in 2016 when Steve McClaren wasn’t sacked quickly enough, Ashley’s regime may have given themselves too much to do in terms of turning the tide of the relegation battle. With two key players joining top scorer Callum Wilson on the long-term treatment table, it’s not too much to suggest that the future of the club relies on the next few games.
Newcastle may have been able to secure quick-fire returns to the Premier League before but, as other teams have proven, that isn’t an easy feat to achieve. Last time, they had a manager of Rafa Benitez’s stature to call on and, back in the 2009-2010 season, Chris Hughton had a side boasting the likes of Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and a young Andy Carroll.
As pointed out by Edwards too, there doesn’t appear to be that kind of strength this time around. Presumably, the takeover would be off too, meaning Newcastle could go on under Ashley for years to come in the Championship.
A dramatic assumption of course but, right now, the situation really does look that dire.