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Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley eyes imminent sale of Newcastle United

06 December 2018

Or is it just more of what we have come to expect year after year, the Newcastle United owner yet again pretending to try and sell the club, the whole thing just a farce to justify not backing Rafa in the January transfer window whilst at the same time once more winding the supporters up?

"I'd like it to be before the January transfer window", he told Sky News' Ian King show.

In Ashley's 11-year ownership of Newcastle, the club have been relegated twice, have been involved in the controversial sackings of Kevin Keegan and Chris Hughton, and changed the stadium's name for commercial interests.

Ashley, who bought Newcastle in 2007 for £135m, has set an asking price of £300m for the Magpies.

Asked if a deal being struck before 2019 was realistic, Ashley said the word "possible" would be a more accurate description.

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Ashley's specific timeframe of "before the January transfer window" suggests he is well aware the Newcastle squad needs strengthening, but is unwilling to be the man responsible for it.

"[Is that] Realistic? It's possible. Hopefully we can carry on our recent good form and get the deal done".

Newcastle had a hard start to the season under Rafa Benitez but three wins in a row moved them up the table before a 3-0 home defeat by West Ham United at the weekend.

There are rumours circulating that Ashely, via his lawyers, has spoken with buyers but is yet to see evidence of proof of funds, whilst some senior Newcastle staff members are believed to be "skeptical" about how honest Ashley was during his Sky interview.

That has left manager Rafael Benitez's future in doubt with the 58-year-old Spaniard, who is out of contract at the end of this season, having been disappointed with the club's transfer dealings for much of his reign to date.

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley eyes imminent sale of Newcastle United