Newcastle United takeover: Michael Chopra claims he found Saudi Arabian 'royal' buyer - but Mike Ashley blocked deal

Former Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra claims he found a Saudi Arabian ‘royal’ buyer for the Magpies – but the deal went dead with Mike Ashley’s lawyers.

Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 09:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 09:49 am
SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 17: Newcastle sub Michael Chopra celebrates after his equalising goall during the Barclays Premiership match between Sunderland and Newcastle United at The Stadium of Light on April 17 2006 in Sunderland, England (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

And that’s led Chopra to question whether Sports Direct tycoon Ashley really wants to sell the club.

“I found a guy in Saudi Arabia at the end of last year who was very interested in buying the club," Chopra told TalkSPORT.

“We spoke to Lee Charnley and he put us in touch with Andrew Henderson, Mike Ashley’s lawyer.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07: Sports Direct International founder Mike Ashley leaves the Red Lion pub in Westminster to attend a select committee hearing at Portcullis house on June 7, 2016 in London, England. Mike Ashley is to face the Business, Innovations and Skills Parliamentary Select Committee on working practices at his Sports Direct Shirebrook Warehouse in Derbyshire. In a letter to his staff he admitted that the centre needed 'improvements' after investigations found that staff had been paid less than the minimum wage and ambulances had been called to the complex 76 times in two years as staff were 'too scared' to call in sick. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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“We called him up, we wanted the mandate from Andrew Henderson to speak to the guy in Saudi about buying the club. Andrew Henderson said if he’s got that much money, is a royal out there, tell him to fly to London to see me.

“From that, I get that they don’t really want to sell the club. They wouldn’t give a mandate to someone who has found a buyer for the club.”

And Chopra thinks the latest summer failings – in which they’ve lost Rafa Benitez, failed to replace him, lost Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez – will see United fans vote with their feet.

“Even in the Championship Newcastle sold out – but I think that will stop, the fans have had enough,” he said.

“The fans are putting their foot down. In 2003 you had 12,000 fans travelling to the San Siro, now you’ve got 12,000 season tickets unsold.

“It a disease. Every year it is getting worse and worse.

“Do I personally think he wants to sell the club? I don’t think so.”