According to The Chronicle journalist Lee Ryder, Mike Ashley was the man behind Andy Carroll’s contract extension and that he is continuing to run the club amid the ongoing takeover process.
Reports in recent weeks had suggested that the Magpies’ proposed takeover was to go through after months of deliberations, but fans of the Tyneside club have been left waiting amid more and more delays.
Now, Ryder has revealed that both Ashley and Lee Charnley are still overseeing matters at St James’ Park, and that any potential summer signings raises the question of whether the Newcastle owner would simply “add that to the bill or the final price”.
He said: “It’s still Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley (running the club). Steve Bruce stated it was “business as usual” on Friday and the club can’t stand still.
“They have started planning for next season knowing they need to get the squad in place for what will be a very indifferent closed season. Andy Carroll has extended his deal by a year – something sanctioned by Ashley – and Javier Manquillo is on board for another four seasons after this one.
“United are also preparing to make some out-of-contract signings too but perhaps a big indication on where this is all going could come if there is a substantial cash signing. Whether Ashley would simply add that to the bill or the final price, given it has taken so long, is something we could see as time goes by.”
With the takeover still yet to be finalised, Newcastle have been left in a bit of predicament. The Magpies are in a limbo situation whereby it remains unclear whether Ashley’s reign at the club will finally be over, or whether the whole thing will collapse at the final hurdle.
That uncertainty from the top of the tree will filter down into matters on the pitch, and a major case in point is the contract situation surrounding Matty Longstaff at the moment.
The academy product has yet to tie down his long-term future to the club amid speculation linking him with a move to Italy, and you just wonder had the Saudi deal been already confirmed, whether the midfielder would have put pen to paper by now.
Ashley’s sanctioning of Carroll’s extension suggests at least that he still has one eye on the ball when it comes to players’ situations, but the longer the whole takeover process drags on, the more harm it does to Newcastle in the long-run.