COMMENT: Transparency needed over Ashley’s intentions at Newcastle and Rangers

STAKE ... Mike Ashley.
STAKE ... Mike Ashley.

YOU can see what Mike Ashley was thinking.

Ashley’s got a stake in one football club – Rangers – that is pushing for promotion.

An injection of quality into the squad wouldn’t harm its bid to return to the Scottish Premier League.

And there are a number of talented young players, some on very good contracts, nowhere near the first team at Newcastle United, a club he wholly owns.

Maybe, in his mind, they’re doing nothing when they could be doing something north of the border.

Hence, on transfer deadline day, five Newcastle players signed for Rangers on loan, though two – Shane Ferguson and Kevin Mbabu – are sidelined with injuries.

But Haris Vuckic, Gael Bigirimana and Remie Streete are in Glasgow – and ready to play.

The loans, not surprisingly, have proved controversial, not least because of a forthcoming Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing over Ashley’s dual interest in United and Rangers.

There are a myriad of issues, and the situation unravelled a little yesterday when Kenny McDowall, the manager at Ibrox, revealed he HAD to play the quintet, though chief executive officer Derek Llambias went on to deny that the board had any say in team selection.

Surely form – and tactics – should dictate the starting XI?

It’ll also be interesting to see how that impacts on the dressing room.

That said, the five players loaned to Rangers are all talented – some also bring Premier League experience – and certainly capable of adding something to McDowall’s team.

But the closer links between the two clubs are troubling people on both sides of the border, and Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian, Rangers’ closest league rivals, might have something to say on the matter.

There are also concerns on Tyneside that Ashley’s stake in Rangers could one day prevent Newcastle playing in Europe.

But that’s for the future.

For the moment, there needs to be greater transparency about Ashley’s long-term intentions at Ibrox – and what it means for United.

Twitter: @milesstarforth