No deal! Newcastle takeover hopes fade as Mike Ashley considers January investment

Mike Ashley is NOT close to selling Newcastle United.

It was reported yesterday that Ashley was "putting the finishing touches to a deal to sell the business", which he values at upwards of £300million.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.

A "mystery consortium of investors" from the USA, it was claimed, was behind a bid for Newcastle, which was formally put up for sale by owner Ashley 13 months ago.

READ MORE: Rafa Benitez waits on Mike Ashley as takeover hopes fade at Newcastle

However, the Gazette reported earlier this week that a sale of the club in the coming months was "unlikely".

There has not been a formal offer for since Ashley broke off talks with financier Amanda Staveley in January, and the billionaire has indicated to manager Rafa Benitez and his players that he expects to be the owner for the foreseeable future.

Benitez – who is out of contract next summer and unwilling to extend his deal without guarantees of transfer funds – is waiting to find out how much money he will have to spend in January's transfer window.

"I don’t want to talk about pressure for me, for him (Ashley), for anyone," said Benitez.

"We are a club that has to have the same targets – for now that is to stay in the Premier League. We can’t waste energy with my future, but, in January, we have to find the right targets to improve things on the pitch – and do it."

The club is 14th in the Premier League after back-to-back wins.

Newcastle take on Burnley at Turf Moor on November 26.

Meanwhile, United fans are stepping up their protests against Ashley.

The Magpie Group plan to protest outside the Shirebrook headquarters of Ashley's Sports Direct retail empire on Saturday.

There will also be a demonstration outside Sports Direct's flagship Oxford Street store on the same day.