The truth about Saudi West Ham links as Newcastle United takeover silence continues

West Ham United are NOT on the radar of investors in talks for a Newcastle United takeover.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:00 pm

The Gazette understands Amanda Staveley's consortium, which is rumoured to be backed by the Saudi Arabian crown sovereign wealth fund, in conjunction with property magnates Simon and David Reuben, remain focused on a deal for United.

Sources close to the Middle-East-led consortium suggest Newcastle United are the main focus of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia driven group.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: British Prime Minister Theresa May (not pictured) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hold a meeting with other members of the British government and Saudi ministers and delegates inside number 10 Downing Street on March 7, 2018 in London, England. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made wide-ranging changes at home supporting a more liberal Islam. Whilst visiting the UK he will meet with several members of the Royal family and the Prime Minister. (Photo by Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

It continues: "City sources have told Football Insider there are growing whispers the Saudi group could target a sensational takeover of West Ham instead."

It's understood while West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold have not put the 'for sale' signs up at the London Stadium, the duo are open to selling the Hammers, if the right deal comes along.

Staveley, with Reuben Brothers, rumoured to be backed by Saudi cash, have been in negotiations with United's hierarchy for at least four months. It is understood talks may even stretch back to before the end of the 2018/19 Premier League season.

A fortnight ago news broke of a potential £340million deal being close to completion.

The Gazette had it confirmed Reuben Brothers, who have bought swathes of prime real estate in Newcastle city centre, are part of an 'active' takeover bid of Newcastle United.

Despite claims, there remains doubt about how far that 'deal' has progressed, with reports from the Mike Ashley camp that he is waiting to field a genuine offer for the football club this year.

The Wall Street Journal first broke the story. It reported that the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “key investment tool”, was funding the bid.

Staveley – who failed with a previous takeover bid – reportedly wants to take a 10% stake in the venture. The financier set up PZ Newco Ltd earlier this month. The initials are understood to stand for Project Zebra.

Owner Ashley officially put the club back up for sale in October 2017.