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Newcastle United takeover expected to be resolved next week

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 22/05/2020 Jason Burt
a person standing in front of a building: A statue of Bobby Robson is seen outside the stadium at the time the final match of season between Newcastle United and Liverpool was due to take place before it was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - REUTERS © REUTERS A statue of Bobby Robson is seen outside the stadium at the time the final match of season between Newcastle United and Liverpool was due to take place before it was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - REUTERS

The proposed £300million takeover of Newcastle United is finally expected to be resolved next week.

Approval for the Saudi Arabian-backed bid remains the most likely outcome following a thorough investigation by the Premier League which, it is understood, has been completed.

Telegraph Sport revealed at the end of March that paperwork for the takeover, which is headed by financier Amanda Staveley, had been submitted. A deposit of £17million was paid to the club’s owner Mike Ashley and, contrary to suggestions, there is no time limit on how long it will take for the deal to be completed.

(Photo by Jon Bromley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Jon Bromley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In April the Premier League then embarked on carrying out the checks through its owners and directors test while ensuring also that the funds were in place together with a business plan.

Normally that process takes up to four weeks but it has been significantly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and the objections raised by beIN Sports over Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the piracy of Premier League’s matches which has had to be thoroughly investigated with documentation submitted.

© Getty

It is understood all the checks and investigations have now been complete and, it is hoped, a final decision will be made in the coming days ahead of a formal announcement within the next week to end the saga.

It has previously been claimed that the deal has to be given the approval of the 19 other clubs but this is not believed to be the case under Premier League rules although, coincidentally, there are two shareholders meetings next week as they try and sort out the key next stages of Project Restart.

As reported by Telegraph Sport on April 30, Premier League sources have suggested that the beIN complaint will not ultimately prevent the takeover although it has undoubtedly complicated matters and been taken seriously while there have also been objections, led by Amnesty International and Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has indicated the Government will leave it in the Premier League’s hands to decide whether the proposed Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle can be completed - PA © Provided by The Telegraph Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has indicated the Government will leave it in the Premier League’s hands to decide whether the proposed Saudi Arabia-led takeover of Newcastle can be completed - PA

If approved the takeover would bring to an end Ashley’s controversial 13-year ownership of Newcastle with the Saudi’s Public Investment Fund taking an 80 per cent stake in the club. The PIF’s governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, is understood to be the nominated chairman of Newcastle.

Staveley’s PCP Capital Limited will take 10 per cent with the final 10 per cent being acquired by one of Britain’s wealthiest families, the Reuben Brothers.

If the takeover goes through it will lead to fevered speculation as to the signings the consortium will make, given its financial backing, and the future of manager Steve Bruce.

However it is understood the buyers have a clear and detailed five-year plan to overhaul and modernise Newcastle and will back Bruce, at least until the end of the season, with the 59-year-old also given every opportunity to remain as the club’s manager beyond that.

(Photo by Gustavo Garello/Jam Media/Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Gustavo Garello/Jam Media/Getty Images)

There have been numerous reports of approaches being made to other managers – such as Mauricio Pochettino – but, according to sources, no approach to any manager, or sporting director, has been made. There is no shortlist or target. It is the same with possible signings.

A priority will be to sort out what happens for the remainder of this season, if it goes ahead, with a number of players at Newcastle out of contract on June 30. These include Andy Carroll and, of course, 20-year-old midfielder Matty Longstaff with Bruce’s plans for both players likely to be crucial to their futures.

Newcastle are 13th in the table with nine matches remaining and although they are not safe from relegation they are eight points outside the bottom three. The immediate priority will be to ensure they stay in the top-flight while, if Newcastle is sold, the new owners will also have to deal with the complicated issue of when they can actually physically get inside the club in what has been a remarkably complicated and long-running attempted takeover.

Related: Where will Newcastle's new owners sit in terms of the world's richest sports owners? [Read Sport]


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