Saudi Arabian-led consortium 'remain committed' to Newcastle United takeover despite Premier League delays

The Saudi Arabian-led consortium remain committed to buying Newcastle United despite constant Premier League decision delays.

The top flight owners and directors test, plus the transfer of funds, is all that stands between the £300 million to rid United of Mike Ashley being complete.

But 15 weeks down the line, we still await that infamous ‘green light’.

In this week’s Toon Trending Topic, our writers Liam Kennedy and Miles Starforth tackle takeover talk, delays, contracts and transfers...

OXFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Mike Ashley owner of Newcastle United talks to managing Directory Lee Charnley ahead of the FA Cup Fourth Round Replay match between Oxford United and Newcastle United at Kassam Stadium on February 04, 2020 in Oxford, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

What’s going on with the takeover?

MS: “There’s a lot we don’t know, but what we do know is that the Saudi Arabia-backed group remains committed to the bid which was accepted by Mike Ashley - and has been with the Premier League since April. The proposed takeover quickly became mired in the kingdom’s geopolitical dispute with Qatar. The recent anti-piracy moves from Saudi Arabia will have been welcomed by the Premier League, but there needs to be some kind of resolution to the complaint from Doha-based rights-holder beIN Sports. Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, said late last month that he hoped the owners’ and directors’ test would conclude shortly. We’re all still waiting for a conclusion, and Ashley is waiting for his money.”

LK: “Confidence remains high among the buying side, and at this stage, that’s enough for me. But ultimately the Premier League will make the call on this one – and it is impossible to know exactly what they are thinking in all of this. This has been a chastening, tiring experience for everyone involved and a resolution is needed with United sleepwalking into the new season, much like they were forced to do for the final few weeks of this one. It feels shambolic it has taken so long but in the same breath totally understandable. There is so much at stake for so many in this proxy war being played out under the banner of the Premier League’s owners and directors test, but few have more to lose than the United faithful.”

What about Henry Mauriss and his reported interest in the club?

MS: “For now, talk about Henry Mauriss, and a £350million bid, is nothing more than a distraction. Mauriss, or any other interested party, won’t come into play unless the Premier League reject the bid brokered by Amanda Staveley. There’s a degree of scepticism on Tyneside about Mauriss and his reported interest, and that’s understandable. For now, we can only wait for a decision from the Premier League. We’ll find out when we find out.”

LK: “I’ll keep this one very short and very simple. Henry Mauriss’ interest in bidding is irrelevant unless the Premier League reject the Saudi bid.”

Will Matty Longstaff sign a new deal at the club?

MS: “As it stands, the odds are seemingly against Matty Longstaff committing to the club. The club recently made an improved offer to the midfielder, but that hasn’t broken the deadlock. Steve Bruce last week said that the club had now “done all it can”, so that gives us an idea of United’s position. It’s not just about money, however, and Longstaff hasn’t started a Premier League game since January, which will be a concern to the 20-year-old and his representatives, who will have noted Bruce’s recent comments on his situation with interest. The proposed takeover might offer the best hope of a breakthrough.”

LK: “I want him to, and I am sure deep down he wants to as well – but there has been some mudslinging this week and I fear it may prove hard to recover this situation from where we are now. Steve Bruce called the player’s commitment into question while giving more gametime to players who care a lot less about the badge than Longstaff. He gave DeAndre Yedlin a start when his agent is agitating for the player a move. Nabil Bentaleb gets a start despite looking nowhere near as complete a player, or character as Longstaff. That will hurt the player. I still hold hope something will work out for Longstaff on Tyneside.”

Will United attempt to sign any of the three loan players?

MS: “Bruce admires all three players, it’s hard to see the club bidding for two of them. We just haven’t seen enough of Valentino Lazaro. We’ve seen glimpses of the winger’s talent, like against Totteham Hotspur when he came off the bench in midweek, but not enough to justify a £20million bid. Nabil Bentaleb has had some good games, but is he any better, or different, to what Bruce already has at the club? The midfielder is also on a big wage at Schalke 04. Finally, there’s Danny Rose. The club didn’t want a buy option in his loan, but he’s probably done more to earn a permanent deal at the club with his performances. That said, would the deal for the 30-year-old defender be right, financially, for Newcastle? Of course, the club’s summer transfer dealings will, ultimately, hinge on the takeover decision.”

LK: “Yes. I think they will. That doesn’t mean I agree with their decision. It would be no shock to see Bruce get a deal in place for Rose – and he’s probably the only one I can make a case for. He might even look to take Bentaleb on a permanent deal, especially with Schalke so keen to get rid. A cheap deal may well be struck, but it would require a big cut in wages for the Algerian, who would become one of the top two or three earners at SJP, if he got paid what he picks up in the Bundesliga. Personally it would be a thanks but no thanks. And Lazaro? We just haven’t seen enough to make a call. If it is £20m-plus, then that will be a no from me and likely a no from NUFC.”

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