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Sticking point revealed in talks between Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley

Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley
Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley

Amanda Staveley and Mike Ashley are STILL some way apart in talks over the sale of Newcastle United.

Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners have made an improved offer of around £300million for the club.

I need to know how much money we’ll have for January as soon as possible

Rafa Benitez

The Middle East-based financier, however, is asking for a relegation clause to be written into the deal.

Staveley wants to be paid back part of the sale price if the club is relegated this season, and that is understood to be a sticking point in discussions.

Newcastle are 16th in the Premier League and just a point above the relegation zone after a run of seven defeats from their last eight games.

Manager Rafa Benitez is waiting to find out how much money he will have to spend in next month’s transfer window.

It is unlikely that a sale will now be completed before the window closes, given that the Premier League would need 30 days to ratify a change in ownership.

However, Staveley is prepared to reimburse Ashley for January investment once she takes control – if a deal for a takeover is done this month.

Supporters, like Benitez, are understandably concerned at what would happen if a deal isn’t done this month, given the pressing need for reinforcements.

Should Ashley and Staveley fail to agree a sale, Benitez – who agreed a transfer budget with Ashley at the end of last season – could be given up to £20million to spend by Ashley, though that wouldn’t go very far in a hugely-inflated market.

Benitez again addressed the issue after Wednesday night’s 1-0 home defeat to Everton. “I need to know how much money we’ll have for January as soon as possible,” said United’s manager.

Meanwhile, John Carver says the proposed sale of Newcastle must happen – for the good of the club.

Carver – who had a spell as manager the in the 2014-15 season following the departure of Alan Pardew – has spoken about the club’s plight.

The 52-year-old, now assistant to Pardew at West Bromwich Albion, hopes a sale can be concluded “quickly”, given the need for manager Benitez to be given funds to strengthen his squad next month.

Carver said: “It does need to happen – everybody’s aware of that – but the quicker it happens, the better it is for that football club.

“Obviously, they’re my competitors now – all I’m worried about is West Brom – but Newcastle are in my heart and if they want to go forward over the years, then the takeover has got to happen and it has got to happen quickly.

“They’ve had one draw in eight games – almost similar to the record I had, under different circumstances – but the Geordie fans will be so frustrated over what is going on, and they’ll want it to happen now.”

West Brom moved out of the Premier League’s relegation zone after holding Liverpool to a goalless draw on Wednesday.