Mike Ashley ‘Desperate’ to Revive £300m Saudi Backed Takeover of Newcastle

Mike Ashley, Lee Charnley
There have been several protests against Mike Ashley since he bought Newcastle United | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is willing to do whatever it takes to revive the failed £300m takeover of the club by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, it has been claimed.

The controversial owner saw a potential deal fall through over the summer – one that would’ve made the Magpies one of the richest clubs in the world.

Ultimately, the Premier League failed to ratify the deal and all communication was shelved, but Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie has claimed that Ashley is still trying to salvage the takeover.

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Ashely has not been a popular figure at Newcastle for several years | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

“He’s hired Nick De Marco from Blackstone chambers, one of the leading sports barristers in the world. He’s represented a lot of English clubs, including Man City in their case with CAS on their European ban,” Downie revealed on the Pitch to Post review podcast.

“It sounds as though Ashley will leave no stone unturned and will spend what is required to go up against the Premier League to see if he can get this aborted takeover through.”

The potential deal split opinion over the summer due to Saudi Arabia’s poor human rights record, but many Newcastle supporters are keen to see new people at the St James’ Park helm. The club has suffered two relegations under Ashley’s stewardship, and they’ve continuously seen their rivals outspend them in the transfer market.

A fresh deal may be a long way off from being agreed – especially in the current financial climate – but Downie says Ashley has had reassurances over the Saudi’s continued interest.

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Newcastle spent a record £40m on Brazilian striker Joelinton last summer | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

“The most important thing in all of this is Ashley needs to ensure that the Saudi part of the consortium still want to buy the club,” Downie added.

“You can only assume that Ashley has had guidance from the Saudi part of the consortium, has done his homework, and had assurances that they’d still buy the club. These things can go on for a while, sometimes months, sometimes a year, with this current climate, maybe even longer.”

Newcastle have made a decent start to the new campaign, picking up seven points from their first five games – but they have struggled for goals again, despite adding Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson to their ranks this summer.

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