Newcastle takeover: Mike Ashley agrees £350m sale to Arab billionaire Sheikh

Contracts have been signed and submitted to the Premier League between Ashley and the Sheikh, The Sun claims.

Sheikh Khaled, who is a cousin of Manchester City’s Arab owner Sheikh Mansour, is a senior member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

Ashley has unsuccessfully tried to sell Newcastle United in the past.

The 54-year-old has previously insisted he had not received any acceptable offers for Newcastle despite officially putting the club up for sale for a year.

Ashley had previously added in a stipulation that any new owner must be able to provide transfer funds, which will be welcome news to Newcastle fans and boss Rafa Benitez.

It is expected that one of the Sheikh’s first tasks will be getting the Benitez to sign a new deal as his current contract expires on June 30.

The 59-year-old coach has spent three-and-a-half years at the club which also included a return to the Premier League as Championship winners and then finishing 10th and 13th in the last two seasons.

Benitez has previously stated he wants to stay at the club, but has been trying to seek assurances from the Newcastle board, as he believes the club can move up the table if more money is spent on players.

According to The Sun, Sheikh Khaled, 61, is ready to provide funds to bolster a limited squad, which could be the decisive factor in persuading Benitez to stay in Tyneside.

Sheikh Khaled is the founder of Bin Zayed Group, a leading conglomerate with diverse business interests in the local and international markets.

He has expressed an interest in owning a football team in the past and was involved in a failed in a £2bn takeover attempt of Liverpool last year.

When the sale is completed it will mark the end of Ashley’s 12-year tenure at the Premier League club he bought a controlling stake in the Magpies back in 2007.

Ashley, who owns British sportswear retailer Sports Direct, has seen his relationship with fans at the club become toxic as they became disillusioned following the lack of transfer funds being made available for new signings.

If that wasn’t enough he had also renamed St James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena, after his company, but a backlash from fans saw the name reverted when a new commercial sponsor purchased the stadium naming rights.

Source: Read Full Article