Mike Ashley’s days as Newcastle owner appear to be coming to an end, as Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan edges towards a takeover at St. James’ Park
The takeover of Newcastle United is nearing completion after the Bin Zayed Group confirmed an agreement has been reached for the sale of the Premier League club.
Reports of the Dubai-based billionaire’s interest in Newcastle emerged on Sunday night, with rumours suggesting Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the relative of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, had tabled a bid of £350 million ($444m) to take the club off current owner Mike Ashley’s hands.
Those reports of takeover talks have now been confirmed as managing director of the group, Midhat Kidwai, said in a statement they are working closely with Ashley “to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity”.
In a statement released to media, including ChronicleLive, Newcastle’s local regional title, the Bin Zayed Group said: “We can confirm the representatives of his Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club.
“We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club.
“We have agreed terms and are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity.
“Best Regards, Midhat Kidwai, Group Managing Director, Bin Zayed Group.”
On Twitter, Dubai TV presenter Hamed Alharthi backed up news of the sale by posting: “Welcome to the Premier League” alongside an image of the Sheikh and a Newcastle United club crest.
A member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, Sheikh Khaled made headlines in the UK last year following his failed attempt to takeover at Champions League finalists Liverpool for a reported £2bn.
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Should the deal go through, one of the first pieces of business to attend to at St. James’ Park will be to tie manager Rafa Benitez down to a new contract.
The Spaniard’s current deal expires this summer, and despite ongoing talks between Benitez and the club’s owner, he is yet to sign on the dotted line.
Despite long-running questions over the future of the club, Benitez guided the Magpies to safety this season with 45 points and a 13th place finish.