But, despite all of the rumour and conjecture, claims and counter-claims, statements and radio silence from Newcastle United, Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley remains the owner at St James’s Park.
Sheikh Khaled, the Bin Zayed Group, some mystery Chinese, some more mystery Americans, GACP Sports, Peter Kenyon and Joseph DaGrosa – here’s every development in a summer that promised change and prosperity for United, but delivered nothing more than the status quo, with a dialling down of quality in the dugout, and on the pitch, as well as dwindling numbers on the terraces.
1. Sunday, May 26 - TAKEOVER ALERT
The Sun publish an exclusive from writer Justin Allen. They claim Newcastle has been sold to the Bin Zayed Group in a £350million deal. Sources at St James’s Park give a “no comment”.
Photo: Michael Regan
2. Monday, May 27 - Lift off from Dubai!
The Bin Zayed Group issue statement: It reads: “Representatives of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team, about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club". They say "terms agreed.".
Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE
3. Tuesday, May 28 - Sources confirm legitimacy
Sources at NUFC confirm the statement is genuine. On the record the Premier League and Newcastle United remain firm in their “no comment” stance. Claims that ‘proof of funds’ have been sent.
Photo: Tony Marshall
4. Wednesday, May 29 - Statement Mk2
A second statement from the group arrives, further clarifying their stance. The Bin Zayed Group's managing director Midhat Kidwai said: "Terms have been agreed between us and Mike Ashley." They confirm proof of funds sent and Premier League tests started. Sources elsewhere continue to refute this.
Photo: Ian MacNicol