A news story from John Richardson of The Mirror claims Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan does not want Rafa Benitez when or rather if he takes over Newcastle United. Names in the frame to replace Rafa are Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. This appears to be flimsy proposition but Rafa’s position appears now to be being used as a bargaining chip between Ashley and BZG. Last week various parts of the football media reported emphatically BZG wish to retain Rafa so liberal does of salt all round eh?

This story appears to come completely from the Ashley side and its likely Richardson has been talking to Keith Bishop. Bishop or Charnley and the purpose of the conversation with Richardson appears to have been to pour cold water on the takeover and raise the prospect of Rafa leaving. As ever, no-one will put their names to these quotes and although United have made a clear No Comment when responding to questions about the takeover, its clear others are communicating with the media – though in the usual snide way you’d associate with Mike Ashley.

In Richardson’s report he claims there are doubts in Ashley’s camp (again, likely to be Bishop, Barnes and possibly Charnley) the takeover will go through. Whether this is truthful or a device to draw in a bid which can then be used to kick-start the auction from which Ashley would profit, I’ll leave you to decide.

Richardson claims there has been “no sign” of the 350 millions needed to buy the club though presumably he is ignoring or claiming as false the emphatic statement from BZG that proof of funds was made to Newcastle United on the 17/Apr/19 – a statement not denied or contradicted by Newcastle United in any way whatsoever. Let them say publicly that is false rather than in squalid off-the-record chats with journalists who they punt their spin to.

You can read the full piece here

In terms of Rafa’s position, Lee Ryder of The Chronicle claims the full terms of what is on offer from Ashley has been discussed – however, not much has shifted from the current situation of the manager having buttons to spend and Ashley insisting on only signing players under 25. Rafa should not allow himself to become Pardew+.  But then The Chronicle has simultaneous pieces (some might say completely contradictory) where Rafa is edging towards a new contract and the deal won’t be swayed by any takeover talk but also reporting he is giving mixed messages about his futures in interviews back in his native Spain. I know, does your head in!

The Chronicle does claim that Dentons Solicitors are the company acting for Ashley. Interestingly, their website boasts of 50 years working on business in the UAE – click here  Although they describe themselves as a global company, they appear to be primarily a Scottish outfit. They are said to be proceeding in the belief the bid is real.

Nick Harris of The Mail has a piece about how Sheikh Khaled’s Grandfather murdered the Grandfather of Sheik Mansour. Should give a bit of spice to our games with Man City if this goes through then. Though interestingly, reports in the football media last week cast doubt they were even related at all. Click here for the story – though its not really relevant to the takeover let’s be honest. Keeps the clicks coming though eh?

So as of 2/Jun/19, we’ve learned:

  • Due Diligence has been completed
  • Proof of Funds has been shared with Newcastle United on 17/Apr/19
  • Terms of agreement between BZG and Ashley has been agreed and this includes a valuation of 350 millions for United
  • There has been some correspondence sent to the Premier League which may or may not be regarding the Fit and Proper Person Test
  • Dentons Solicitors are acting for Ashley who boast of 50 years experience working in the UAE
  • Keith Bishop and Lee Charnley are talking non-stop off the record to journalists to spin an alternative Ashley line in response to the clear, unambiguous statements made by BZG.
  • Ashley wants a formal bid for the club (which we believe will be used to start an auction to max out the price for the club)
  • No contract has been signed by Rafa Benitez whose current deal will expire at the end of this month.
  • Lee Charnley has e-mailed all Newcastle United staff telling them to keep their traps shut and remarked upon this being a critical time for the club
  • Contacts have been made with the Fans Forum members requesting they do not criticise the club’s communications.