We thought it would be reasonably plain sailing when it was announced yesterday that Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed al-Nahyan had agreed to buy the club from Mike Ashley.
Before any bid is lodged a deep dive is done on the financial books, and that’s one of the things that takes time with a takeover.
You need to do this to know what you are buying for what is big money.
But if the Sun report was accurate yesterday that must already have been done since the signed contracts from both sides have already been sent to the Premier League.
Now there is news in the Chronicle that suggests the takeover will not be completed until July – and after the current contract Rafa has at Newcastle runs out.
If this news is accurate today – it makes it even more difficult for Rafa Benitez
Good job Rafa has nerves of steel and a robust character
Why is it always the case – if this is true – that an Ashley run Newcastle is always in such a mess?
The Chronicle has posted this from journalist Ben Jacobs, an ESPN journalist based in Dubai.
“Bin Zayed Group sources say they don’t expect a takeover to be complete before Benitez’s contract expires on June 30.”
“Will be on Mike Ashley (and the impending lure of a possible new owner. If that happens) to persuade him to stay.”
“Notion Sheikh Nehayan wants Benitez to stay as a priority is also solely based on a respect for him from his Liverpool and Real Madrid days and a meeting just before he joined Chelsea.”
“But Wenger, with links to the UAE, and Mourinho are also out of work.”
“Point is Bin Zayed Group are making it clear their priority is to acquire the club not decide on a manager.”
“They see no reason to replace Benitez, but also accept he may go before they arrive.”
And this is a piece from Chris Waugh from the Chronicle about where Rafa stands:
“Despite the confusion which has reigned on Tyneside so far this week, Benitez has been told that it is “business as usual” as far as the United hierarchy is concerned.”
“And that, at least in the immediate term, Ashley is going to remain owner, so it is the retailer with who the Spaniard must continue his complex contract-extension negotiations.”
Newcastle will have to move in the transfer market well before the takeover – if indeed it’s supposed to be July when the acquisition will happen.
So we have the strange case that Rafa can bring in players through the end of June – guided by owner Mike Ashley.
And then if his contract is not renewed before June 30th, who takes the training when the players come back for preseason training on July 4th?
And who takes the first team squad to China for the Premier League Asia Trophy?
But remember, Ashley did a similar thing back in 2009 after we were relegated.
He wouldn’t appoint Alan Shearer as manager and then in late June, days before the players were to report back to training, he named the only two coaches we had – Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood to take over the management of the team.
The rest is history – because they and our players did an outstanding job for the club – and we will never forget that.
But that was still crazy and irresponsible management from the owner – and it looked at the time like he didn’t care one iota.
It seems inconceivable that Rafa will not be involved continuously until and after the club is acquired by Sheikh Khaled this summer.
If this state of affairs the Chronicle is reporting today is true, then it’s a real mess.
And Ashley’s hand is on this – he’s disorganized at best.
But we’ll leave it there.
We find it very hard to believe this is the actual state of affairs at Newcastle right now.
What do you think?