According to transfer expert Duncan Castles, Newcastle United owner and chairman Mike Ashley has prevented the prospective new owners from getting in touch with head coach Steve Bruce.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are looking to complete a £300 million takeover of the Magpies, but the Premier League’s directors’ and owners’ test is delaying the move.
11 Newcastle players are out of contract at the end of the season and PIF want to speak to Bruce before making a final decision on them ahead of imminent major squad changes.
However, Ashley hasn’t given them permission to speak with the Magpies boss.
“Interestingly, they haven’t spoken directly to Steve Bruce and that, I believe, is because Mike Ashley has not given them permission to speak to Steve Bruce. I don’t think that should be taken as an indication that there’s any kind of reluctance on Mike Ashley’s part to sell. My information is that the deal is there, he cannot back out of this deal if the Premier League give approval, he has to go through with it,” Castles said on the Transfer Window podcast
“But I think also if you’re an owner of a club, and there are doubts whether a takeover would be approved, then it’s sensible to not let your current manager speak to people who do not actually have control of the club at present. I could see other owners in similar situations doing the same thing.
“They don’t want to make a final decision on any of those players until they’ve spoken to Steve Bruce, which again makes sense given that the strategy is to retain Bruce at least until the end of the season, and also makes very good sense in that if you want to talk and make a decision about whether a player should be retained, one of the most important individuals to speak to is the manager who has been working with him for the last season.
“So they want to take Bruce’s assessment of the player into account before deciding what to do with the players whose contracts need to be renewed, or if they decide to allow them to become free agents. I think all of that bodes well for Steve Bruce in that he’s seen as important and he’s seen as a figure who will be involved, at least until the end of this Premier League season.”
Javier Manquillo, Matthew Longstaff, Andy Carroll, Karl Darlow, Jack Colback, Rob Elliot and Jamie Sterry all have their deals expiring at the end of this month, and the same applies to the loan quartet of Danny Rose, Valentino Lazaro, Jetro Willems and Nabil Bentaleb.
While their deals could be extended till the end of the campaign – which is now expected to end in August – their futures won’t be sorted out with Ashley still in charge, and it will be interesting to see if the takeover will finally happen this month or if the wait will continue.