Before the Saudi-backed consortium reached an agreement with Mike Ashley to buy Newcastle United, there was GACP Sports, among a few other potential owners being linked with an interest. GACP is run by American Joseph DaGrosa, who sold his stake in Bordeaux late in 2019.
DaGrosa did meet with Ashley but reportedly came nowhere near the asking price for Newcastle. Both sides eventually moved on with Newcastle getting massively shafted by the Premier League over the Saudi-backed consortium.
DaGrosa recently failed in an attempt to buy out Southampton which has brought his name back in links with revamping a move for Newcastle. There’s been nothing definitive that he’s planning to do that.
All signs indicate that Mike Ashley remains committed to seeing the deal with the Amanda Stavely-led consortium through to its full conclusion before entertaining other offers. That has taken time as legal proceedings so often do.
The Chronicle has found some interesting comments from DaGrosa on his pursuit to buy a European club. Speaking to Off The Pitch, the American said the following about the potential issue with investing in a Premier League club:
“If we wanted to write a cheque for what sellers are looking for right now, we could close a deal today if we wanted to.
“That’s not the issue at all. We pride ourselves on being disciplined investors. We’re not looking for a fire sale price on clubs.
“We thought in the EPL (English Premier League) for instance we’d see a tendency in the second half of the season, certainly start to return to some semblance of normalcy. That hasn’t happened.”
This could become a concern for any other potential suitors for Newcastle United if Mike Ashley fails in his legal case. The Premier League is nowhere near a ‘semblance of normalcy’ with fans likely not allowed into stadiums for at least the remainder of the year. That uncertainty could scare off groups that would otherwise be interested.
This issue is compounded by another point that DaGrosa made. That time is of the essence as new owners prefer to be in place before the summer transfer window opens. Here is what he said about getting deals done before the summer:
“No one wants to be negotiating or closing during the summer trading window.
“So, logic would suggest we would want to get a deal done, and the seller would want to get a deal done, prior to going into the summer trading window because that radically affects the finances of clubs one way or the other.
“For a clean break and a clean start certainly a deal needs to be done before the summer transfer window.
“Hopefully, we will get something across the goal line. But one thing I’ve learned in my going on a 30-year career in private equity is if you get that first decision wrong, you’re stuck for a very long time with hundreds and hundreds of other decisions to make up for that first bad decision.”
These comments would tend to rule out another move for Newcastle if that was even in his thinking. DaGrosa is not going to pay Ashley’s asking price, though he seems to indicate that he has the funds to do so saying the following:
“I would say we’ve got very strong financial support and for the target size of clubs we are looking at we are very comfortable that we have the capital we need to get the acquisitions done and to adequately capitalize them post-closure,”
The uncertainty with Covid and Ashley being tied up in his legal fight against the EPLrepresent barriers for DaGrosa to become the one to take Newcastle off of Ashley’s hands. Hopefully, Ashley can win his legal battle and we can stave off relegation. Dare to dream.