Newcastle takeover nears as Sheikh Khaled reveals “terms agreed”

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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (left) is in talks with representatives of Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan over a sale (Steven Paston/PA)

Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is working to complete a takeover at Newcastle after agreeing terms with Mike Ashley, the billionaire has revealed.

The Dubai-based tycoon, cousin of Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour and a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, insists he has “agreed terms” and is now attempting to “complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity”.

A statement released by the Bin Zayed Group, of which Sheikh Khaled is chairman, said: “We can confirm that representatives of His Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team, about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club.

“We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club.

“We have agreed terms and are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity.”

Ashley, who bought the Magpies for £134.4million in 2007, has freely admitted he cannot afford to take them to the next level and put the business up for sale for the third time during his tenure in October 2017.

Mike Ashley HMV takeover
Mike Ashley looks set to sell Newcastle (Owen Humphreys/PA)

He has always insisted if somebody could provide the finance he cannot, he would happily sell and it remains to be seen if a deal can be pushed through.

The optimism which coursed through the city on Monday will be tempered by those earlier unsuccessful bids and the fact Sheikh Khaled was unable to complete a move for Liverpool last year, although that was valued at around £2billion.

There was no official comment from Newcastle on Monday, although sources on Tyneside indicated that Sheikh Khaled had expressed an interest, but that there was still a distance to go before a deal could be finalised.

Newcastle United v Manchester City – Premier League – St James’ Park
Newcastle fans protested against owner Mike Ashley last season (Richard Sellers/PA)

Talks with a series of potential purchasers are understood to have taken place in recent weeks with Newcastle having secured their Premier League status for another season, although Ashley is keen for negotiations to be conducted away from the spotlight.

Time is of the essence with manager Rafael Benitez currently engaged in ongoing discussions over his future with just weeks to go before his contract expires and the summer transfer window already open.

He could be forgiven for remaining cautious, even if the prospect of a new owner and significantly improved spending power is exciting Magpies supporters.