John Richardson of The Mirror click here carries a piece today claiming that the departure of Rafa Benitez as manager of Newcastle United wasn’t really down to Mike Ashley but rather potential purchasers of the club BZG, led by Sheikh Khaled. In this piece without any quotes or even referral to any sources (insert Keith Bishop thought here) Richardson reckons its not down to Ashley that Rafa has left the building, but those who want to buy United. A group who aren’t even going through the Fit & Proper persons test as yet or who have made an offer he finds acceptable.

Presumably Sheikh Khaled insisted on terms of a contract which prevented Rafa signing any players over 26, refused to update the training ground and were the reason Rafa has been shafted in every transfer window bar the first one.

We can expect more of this but who’s really buying it?

The Scum is today claiming an as yet unnamed but French consortium has decided not to prepare a bid to attempt to buy United following the departure of Rafa Benitez exit-stage-left from St James’ Park. The article provides no details or sources whatsoever so is likely complete fabrication in the worst traditions of the worst newspaper in the world.

Elsewhere in The Mirror, Stan Collymore is urging Mags to take to the barricades … or stop going to the match and putting money into Ashley’s pockets. We’ve been here before Stan and there’s a good chance this suggestion will be repeated loudly and regularly at The Magpie Group’s meeting tomorrow night at Newcastle Labour Club. Click here for Stan Collymore’s words of wisdom.

The Birmingham Mail however has claimed United have made  a bid of 9:5millions for Solomon Rondon which has been rejected – click here That seems far fetched given Rondon’s relationship with Rafa was the reasoning behind his desire to move to United permanently. Difficult to see who could be making bids for players given there is zero football expertise at SJP around the first team. Has Lee Charnley been on Football manager again?

The Star reckons Sean Longstaff is considering his future at United and might be tempted to move to Man U – click here – who wouldn’t?

The Times reckon Steven Gerrard is “too shrewd” to leave Rangers and join Newcastle United – click here – by “too shrewd” I think they mean hasn’t completely lost his mind and has Rafa Benitez’s mobile number.

There is absolutely no meaningful update of how the takeover is or isn’t going but this is Newcastle United, so really do fear the worst and you won’t go far wrong.