Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has suggested the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund may have been consulted prior to Newcastle United’s announcement of a commercial deal with eToro, while speaking to Football Insider.
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In a statement posted on the club’s official website on August 26th, it was revealed that the social investment network would become a partner and, as a result, ‘gain global exposure’ through a range of advertisements on advertising hoardings around St James’ Park.
Media backdrops and further digital rights are also said to be involved in return for their investment.
How does this relate to the club’s potential takeover?
“The way you value a club is you look at the future cash being generated,” he said.
“If the deal negotiations are at an advanced stage, the prospective new owners will have been advised as to the value of the deal with eToro and other partners.
“Given that Mike Ashley has still got to persuade them to pay a final price, if he locks the club into low-value deals, especially on a long-term basis, that is no good for him.
“If the club has been locked into lower-value revenue streams, that’s going to have an impact on what Ashley can charge.
“It’s not in Ashley’s interest or the new owner’s interest to be tied into them.”
Is Maguire right?
Still, from a fans’ perspective, the constant talk of a change of ownership is grating. With Newcastle facing the very grim reality of yet another relegation scrap after an awful summer transfer window that saw Ashley refuse to release extra funds for loan additions, the notion of rich foreign coming in to save the club seems so far away at the moment.
As interesting as any further developments are on the matter, Newcastle need to focus on the here and now. Should the club suffer another relegation under Ashley’s ownership, who knows what will happen to the idea of a takeover?