Mike Ashley remains optimistic that a sale of Newcastle United to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will be revived if given clearance by the Premier League.
According to the Daily Mail, there is optimism that the PIF will revive plans to purchase the Magpies following the resolution of a private arbitration hearing.
Ashley is awaiting the results of the hearing, which is yet to start, as part of a continued fight against the Premier League’s decision to block a £300m takeover.
The Sports Direct Tycoon is determined to hear the reasons why a deal was denied, with a source close to Ashley quoted as stating: “In Mike’s eyes, the club is sold.”
Premier League chiefs put a halt to the PIF – in a consortium with the Reuben brothers and financier Amanda Staveley – purchasing Newcastle over concerns relating to alleged state-backed broadcast piracy in the country.
Ashley had agreed to sell Newcastle to the consortium exactly a year ago, and the deal struck is believed to remain in place in hopes of receiving the green light to conclude contracts.
It was expected on June 21st last year that a decision giving the potential takeover the go-ahead was close, although the announcement was never made leading to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene.
Bin Salman is believed to have insisted within a week of the expected announcement that Anglo-Saudi relations would be damaged if Johnson did not get the Premier League to ‘correct its wrong conclusion’.
The Daily Mail’s report that optimism remains over a deal being agreed will come as a huge boost for Ashley and Newcastle fans. Given how long the process has taken up to this point, it would have been understandable for doubts to have crept in, but this latest report indicates that the deal is by no mean off at this point.
The current Newcastle owner said to be focused on selling to the consortium once given the green light and he would otherwise be wasting his time exploring a legal challenge to the Premier League’s decision if he felt the deal was dead in the water after the consortium withdrew its bid to buy the St. James’ Park natives last July.
Time that could be used to broker a sale with American tycoon James Pallotta, who recently namechecked Newcastle as a potential Premier League side to invest in, but barely caused any clamour with Ashley due to his focus being on the Saudi-led offer.
It will also come as a huge boost for Toon supporters, who are noted to blame the Premier League for denying them a change in ownership last year, and may finally see progress made toward a more positive future once the arbitration hearing commences.
It just remains to be seen what comes of the arbitration hearing and when an outcome is likely, but the Daily Mail has offered both Ashley and fans reason to be hopeful.