Newcastle United briefing: Mike Ashley waits on bid, Rafa Benitez's message to Aleksandar Mitrovic

Amanda Staveley
Amanda Staveley

The weekend brought with it speculation that a £300million deal had been done for the sale of Newcastle United.

There were claims that Amanda Staveley's consortium had agreed to buy the club.

However, those reports were premature.

Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez has again spoken about Aleksandar Mitrovic after he left the striker on the bench for the Bournemouth game.

And Manchester United's Juan Mata has lauded Benitez ahead of Saturday's game at Old Trafford.

Here's your daily briefing:

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

Waiting game

Staveley has not bid for Newcastle – yet.

The financier's group is one of a number of interested parties to have signed a non-disclosure agreement with United.

Newcastle have opened their books for the due diligence process.

Aleksandar Mitrovic, left, and Ayoze Perez

Aleksandar Mitrovic, left, and Ayoze Perez

And owner Mike Ashley, keen to sell before the New Year, is waiting on their next move.

Patience

Some fans chanted for Mitrovic's introduction against Bournemouth.

However, Benitez kept him on the bench, and the visitors went on to win 1-0 thanks to an injury-time header.

Rafa Benitez and Simon Smith

Rafa Benitez and Simon Smith

Benitez was asked what Mitrovic had to do to get a game.

United's manager said: "It’s the same for everyone.

“The players who aren’t playing at the moment have to carry on training and training hard, and then if they get an opportunity, make the most of it.

“Dwight Gayle was working hard. He was unlucky to get his goal disallowed (against Bournemouth), and this was it.”

Benitez also spoke about his decision to go with a 4-4-2 formation against Bournemouth.

Lucky break

Benitez and Mata won the Europa League together at Chelsea in the 2012-13 campaign.

Newcastle were knocked out by eventual runners-up Benfica that season.

Mata says he was "lucky" to get to work with Benitez at Stamford Bridge.

The midfielder blogged: "Everyone knows they are newly-promoted, but they are still a big club with several Spanish players.

Among them Rafa Benitez, a manager with whom I was lucky to work with in the past. It will be nice to see him again."

Meanwhile, Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot has left the Republic of Ireland squad because of a "family bereavement".

Bradford City's Colin Doyle has been called up as goalkeeping cover for tomorrow night's decisive World Cup play-off game against Denmark.

The two countries drew 0-0 in the first leg on Saturday.