Revealed! Amanda Staveley's Newcastle United takeover role plus details of Mike Ashley's buyout demands

Takeover talk is again gripping Tyneside. It's hard to remember a month where a link hasn't surfaced when it comes to Mike Ashley's ownership of Newcastle United.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:16 pm

This time it's back to Amanda Staveley but gone are PCP Capital Partners and Dubai investment, in is the Saudi Arabian royal estate and two of the richest men on these shores, in the shape of David and Simon Reuben.

But where do we stand, what next for Ashley and Newcastle? And can fans start opening those 'cans'? Our writer Liam Kennedy assesses the current state of play at St James's Park.

Where do things stand at present on the takeover front?

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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Mike Ashley, Newcastle United owner is seen in the stands prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion at St. James Park on October 20, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

At the moment no deal has been agreed for the sale of the football club - plain and simple.

No formal checks are being conducted by the Premier League yet and Mike Ashley is still very much holding all the cards when it comes to a potential sale.

Due diligence and talks have been ongoing for around four to six months with the Saudis but until a deal has been agreed with Ashley, progress will halt.

Ashley has stated his desire to sell the football club but that will be tested now with PIF and the Reubens not short on money and proof of funds not standing in the way.

As has been the problem with previous takeovers, though, Ashley's want for a SUBSTANTIAL advanced down payment and various other caveats, which in the past have included advert retention and club merchandise deals, could easily put a spanner in the works.

Goalposts have been shifted in the past, so do not be surprised to see them chucked all over the shop this time around.

The big question mark around all of this is whether Ashley, as he says he is, a truly a willing seller?

Why did the story leak and why is Ashley angered by that?

A lot of scepticism greeted the Wall Street Journal leak at the weekend from fans and journalists alike.

Was this Staveley playing a very public game again, just like she did with Ashley two years ago?

Since then, considerable weight has been thrown behind the verification of WSJ's account. To be honest, if they'd written a story about anything else, they would never be doubted, such is their journalistic standing.

Why the leak came out is anyone's guess. Could it be a push to Ashley to get it done? It was NOT a leak by Ashley's people - he was angered with a story of the talks coming out while he was away in the US on non-NUFC related business.

Quite why he does not like such leaks is another strange facet to this deal. It is not at all thought to be a deal-breaker, and surely only benefits himself, should it drive a bidding war.

What role will Staveley have in the takeover & potentially beyond?

Staveley's involvement has some puzzled.

Well respected national scribe Martin Samuel - the man who got the BZG Ashley exclusive last summer - produced a slaughter piece on why trillionaires coupling up with billionaires would need a deal broker?

It has to be assumed some of, if not all of what Samuel produced, was influence by yet more conversations with Ashley.

And yes, it is fair to ask, why would anyone give away 10% to a broker in order to fix a deal they could pay for in their sleep?

Staveley, though, is familiar with the club, due to her previous buy attempt, and is well connected both in the Gulf and in the football world in the UK.

Should a takeover go through she is thought to be tasked with the day-to-day running of the football club - employing 'her people' to get things done. And this is where the links to Rafa Benitez come. Staveley has connections with Benitez through the Spaniard's own fixer Owen Brown.

Will the situation have an impact on Steve Bruce's remaining January transfer plans?

As it stands, United are still working to get at least one more deal done, but do not be wholly surprised if that's your lot for the month. That though, has nothing at all to do with the news which broke at the weekend.

The striker United wanted this month has proved elusive and left-back cover is the main priority. Another loan to buy option could be done, but time is running out.

The ownership issue has done nothing to change that, at the moment, at least.