Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley setting the stage for another disappointing January
Newcastle United fans have certainly been frustrated this season, and it is not just all on the pitch. The Toon are currently 15th in the Premier League, with only three points separating them from the relegation places. Takeover talks are nothing new at St. James’ Park, and owner Mike Ashley has once again gone to a tactic that supporters know all too well.
Appearing on Sky News Monday evening, Ashley stated that the sale of Newcastle United Football Club is progressing at an advanced stage. He also indicated that he would like the deal to be completed before the January transfer window. "I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that will please everybody.”
It doesn’t take a body language expert to understand what is happening here (also, the giant smirk on Ashley’s face throughout the live interview didn’t help his case either). The irony is that we only have to look back one year for the proof.
The takeover bid from Amanda Staveley and PCP Capital Partners during last season had everything required of a Premier League sale. The buyers seemed set to offer what Newcastle’s owner wanted, and they had the resources available to provide adequate funding for transfers after the purchase. Those negotiations were at an “advanced stage” as well, only to see the idea sweep away into the night sky.
That was one reason why transfer money wasn’t available for manager Rafa Benitez last January, as only three incoming loan moves were made (Martin Dúbravka, Kenedy, Islam Slimani). Significant funds can’t be spent during a potential takeover. What do you think is going to happen next month, now?
Three consecutive league victories last month were promising, but Newcastle still require reinforcements during the upcoming transfer window. With multiple rumours over the past 11 years that Ashley was selling, Monday is just another brick in the wall. Thanks to this story, the 54-year-old businessman has his foundation in place to not spend any money.
Another potential worry is found with Jamaal Lascelles. While a recent contract extension is a positive, there is a feeling that it could just be a way to increase the defender's transfer value.
Newcastle United and Mike Ashley need to go their separate ways. That much is clear. However, when that split actually takes place will, unfortunately, be on Ashley’s terms.