Bin Zayed Group stance on Rafa Benitez clarified as £350million Newcastle United takeover gathers momentum
The Bin Zayed group are keen to keep Rafa Benitez as Newcastle United manager should they complete their takeover of the club.
The Dubai-based group have claimed they have agreed a deal with Mike Ashley to purchase the club for £350million, with a statement released today [Thursday] suggesting that proof of funds have already been submitted.
Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is leading the group aiming to purchase the Magpies as they moved to address conflicting reports in the press after news of the attempted takeover broke over the weekend.
A statement read: "In consideration of the numerous speculations in regards to the timelines of the acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club by Bin Zayed Group, we feel the need to issue this statement.
"Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley; these terms have been reflected in a document, signed by both parties, which has been forwarded to the Premier League.
"The proof of funds statement was forwarded to Mike Ashley's lawyers on April 17 2019.
"The so called fit-and-proper Premier League process is a standard procedure which will take time, and we are doing all we can to assist the Premier League during this process.
"We feel the need to clarify this point in order for the fans and the general public to understand the timelines."
And while takeover talk continues, the future of manager Rafa Benitez remains a key issue.
The Spaniard's contract expires on June 30 and, with the clock ticking, rumours surrounding his future are continuing to circulate.
But The Sun's Justin Allen - who broke the takeover story - insists the Bin Zayed Group 'absolutely' want to keep Benitez as the club's manager should they take control.
And he suggests that work is being done in an attempt to finalise the deal to buy the club before the end of June to allow the new ownership to tie the Newcastle boss to a new deal.
Often takeovers are accompanied by a managerial switch, but should Newcastle be taken over it is likely Benitez will remain in charge - should he be willing to stay.