Newcastle tight-lipped as takeover talks circulate once more

Newcastle are refusing to comment on claims that owner Mike Ashley is ready to agree a £350million sale of the club.

A report has suggested the sportswear tycoon’s protracted search for a buyer is close to coming to an end amid suggestions that Dubai-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan has negotiated terms to take the club off his hands.

However, Press Association Sport understands that while there has been an expression of interest from Sheikh Khaled, no deal has yet been finalised.

The official line from St James’ Park on Monday morning was a firm “no comment” amid of flurry of excited speculation on Tyneside.

There was no word either from the Bin Zayed Group, of which Sheikh Khaled – the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour – is chairman.

It is understood that there has been renewed interest in the club from several parties in recent weeks, although given the public glare in which Amanda Staveley and Peter Kenyon conducted their failed bids to seal a takeover were played out, potential buyers have been warned that secrecy is of the utmost importance.

Newcastle has been up for sale for much of the current owner’s 12-year tenure, but was last placed on the market in October 2017 with the Sports Direct supremo admitting he could not afford to take it to the next level.

In the meantime, the club has stabilised in the Premier League under manager Rafael Benitez, who is currently in negotiations with the hierarchy over a new contract with his existing deal due to expire at the end of next month.

Sheikh Khaled attempted to buy Liverpool last year, but the proposed £2billion deal was ultimately not viewed as credible.

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