'There are no offers' Mike Ashley reveals Newcastle United takeover latest in astonishing interview
Mike Ashley has revealed Newcastle United is not close to being sold – and says he feels like he could ‘own this football club for ever.’
In an astonishing interview with the Daily Mail, Ashley lifts the lid on Rafa Benitez’s departure, the appointment of Steve Bruce and the club’s transfer plans.
And Ashley insists he won’t stand in the way of selling the club but revealed there are no offers currently being considered.
The Sheikh Khaled-led Bin Zayed Group have been in talks this summer but a deal does not appear to be close, with Ashley indicating he is not close to selling.
On financing the club and takeover talk, Ashley said: “It is so much bigger than when I got involved. I thought at the time I could put in £10m, £20m and it would make a big difference. And it would have done. Now - it's nothing.
“Put in £10m and it's a joke. OK, that's how the market is. But it's not something I can afford, and it's not something Newcastle can afford while I own it.
“The over-riding reality is that I am just not wealthy enough to own Newcastle. I genuinely believe you need £1billion. People say £500m but I'd bet anyone that these days you can't do it for that. Not to compete at the very top.
“Manchester City can afford to have an ageing team; they can afford to just write players off. How can we do that? It's not possible. Therefore you have to go for the best young players and hope they develop that little bit and become world-beaters.
“That is our principle and it hasn't changed for many years. But to compete, I need someone to take Newcastle off me who literally wants to put in £1billion.
“So I have to assume I will stay running this football club. There are no offers. Define an offer. I'm not a believer any more. Peter Kenyon convinced me last Christmas that it was going to get done. I'm never doing that again. I think I could own this football club for ever. That is my new mental state. The reality is with these deals that once it gets out, if it's not done, it's probably not going to get done.
“The day someone buys Newcastle, they'll do their due diligence - and finished. It will happen like Manchester City. By the time the media find out, it's already complete. There's no need for a delay with Newcastle. It is, honestly, a very well-run football club.
“The last bid, the one from UAE, he's a prince and he's got £38bn or £100bn, all these numbers — well, why would you even care what you're paying then? What difference would £10m either way make? You would want speed, you would want certainty, you would want the keys and to get on with it.
“I will not stand in the way of Newcastle United. I will not stop that, if it happens. If such a person comes along I will think I've done quite a good job and I will want to keep going to watch them.
“I'll keep a box, because my parents will demand it. Every time there's a story that I've sold, I get the phone call. "You haven't included our box in the sale?" When you own a football club, the whole family are in.”