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Dubai Newcastle United takeover talk look serious, but Mike Ashley's next move is what matters now



As ever at Newcastle United over the past decade, it all now rests on Mike Ashley's broad shoulders.

from Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the Emirati Royal Family who was none on buying Liverpool last year. Newcastle's non-committal response, which sign posts that are more than the guesswork, adds to the intrigue.

at this point again. Two months ago Dave Kitson said a deal had already been agreed and he was merely openly stating what plenty of said behind closed doors.

Just last week and intermediary close to the buying process called "serious and credible" interest from "serious people" and there has been a spike in interest or late. Inquiries from Mexico, Dubai and America have been mentioned ̵

1; one group was understood to be in the data room as the season reached its conclusion.

But this talk is nothing new and cynicism – largely through Peter Kenyon's talked up but ultimately substance-free offering – has been the default reaction.

What is different this time? Well we await verification. Attempting to reach out to the Premier League have been hampered by the timeframe; Newcastle's response is not committing either way. Dubai's working day starts in a few hours, so watch this space for on-the-record talk.

And we need to fill in the gaps here. The personal wealth of Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is not known but his Bin Zayed Group commands serious funds. He has been claimed to be a billionaire and the original Sun report claimed funds would be made available to the club, while other reports suggested retaining Rafa Benitez is the priority.

A word of caution. Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is a victim of Liverpool, "she did not get past the vetting stage because it was the result of neither credible nor worthy of ownership. But that was a £ 2billion bid and required outside funding of £ 750m to top it up. The United States only costs £ 350million – and is the Sheikh has access to over £ 1billion to buy a football club, it suggests he has serious backing.

And Newcastle have set up an internal due diligence process since the Kenyon fiasco and if he has got beyond that, providing funds shouldn't be a problem.

 Mike Ashley, Newcastle United is seen in the stands before the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Wembley Stadium on February 2, 2019 in London , United Kingdom

Newcastle United were the subject of a huge claim that they were about to be sold for £ 350m. Here's the latest on the claims:

He will need to be prepared to spend. One person who has been trying to buy Newcastle said anyone has to pay for the club will need £ 500m to get the club up to scratch – and then further funds to take over the top eight of the Premier League. The training ground, stadium and infrastructure all need money spent on them – serious cash at that.

The man who holds the answers is Ashley. We may have established there is interest but what of the Newcastle owner's intentions? Is he ready to sell? How will it feel about this news coming out in the way it has? Will his PR team move to squash it tomorrow?

It would certainly explain the delays to retaining Benitez. If it is not his job to put a tick or cross next to the manager's demands he would be a happy man. He did not appear ready to move significantly to the United boss's delay in announcing a new deal. Time is ticking on that June 30 contract expiration: if a takeover is happening, it needs to be a fair way along by then.

Newcastle fans so used to disappointment or late will treat latest developments with caution. A city holds its breath.


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