While the Times this morning is suggesting strongly that Mike Ashley is thinking about keeping Newcastle for the next year, Keith Harris, Chairman of Seymour Pierce Bank, charged with selling the club still thinks he can sell the club this month.
Keith Harris – Newcastle can be sold this month
Mike Ashley has been told Newcastle will be sold by the end of this month – once the club has rid itself off a handful of its biggest wage earners.
Not surprisingly Ashley has been a little frustrated at the lack of progress, since he put the club up for sale for £100M at the end of May.
With the end of August fast approaching and the first Championship game at WBA on Saturday, time is quickly running out to get the squad in order for the coming season, and to slash the wage bill to around £35M, which the Newcastle club will be able to afford this season.
But Keith Harris, back from his two week vacation, last night insisted he is within weeks of getting new owners for the club.
How many times have we heard that one in the last 10 months?
Keith said last night:
“It is not a shocking guess to say that sometime this month something positive will come out of it,”
“It would have been ideal for it to happen before next Saturday but clearly that won’t happen.”
We estimate Newcastle’s wage bill at around £56M right now, and that has scared off prospective buyers who want evidence that costs can be slashed and big transfer income brought in from players.
The sale of Oba Martins for £9M to Wolsfburg last week has helped a lot, and it would appear that that Sebastien Bassong, Fabricio Coloccini, Jonas Gutierrez and Habib Beye will all be sold as soon as possible to bring the books in order.
Geremi and Smith are also on around £3m/year in wages and need to be taken off the books.
But why is it just now that this is being realized?
We have said throughout the summer that the club needs to sell players to reduce the wage bill, unless somebody is going to invest £30M – £40M to cushion the impact of the current huge wage bill.
This is hardly rocket science, after all, and it will also put the Newcastle books in order, which by all accounts is what has put off potential buyers of the club.
Yet what did Ashley and LLambias do?
They put a moratorium on outgoing transfers which has only just been lifted presumably with the transfer of Oba Martins to Wolfsburg and it took 9 weeks to sell our first player.
We’ve heard a lot of this before from Keith Harris, and we are quickly thinking that Ashley could give up on the sale, at least for a year, and bring in a new permanent manger to run the club shortly.
After all in a year’s time Mike may have a Premier league club again, and that will be worth a lot more than £100M.