Mike Ashley running out of options as Mauriss’ Newcastle takeover bid in doubt

Mike Ashley will start the season as Newcastle United owner, but still wants to sell up.

A quick resolution to the Geordie fans' clamour for a new owner is not expected after the collapse of the Saudi-funded deal brokered by Amanda Staveley.

The Sports Direct tycoon has told US businessman Henry Mauriss he now has an open run at buying the club… if he's got £300m.

But sources close to the Staveley deal believe they remain Ashley's only option, with doubt expressed over Mauriss's ability to raise such funds.

The ball is now in the court of the US Clear TV CEO to show his hand or walk away, after conversations between lawyers.

Boss Steve Bruce has been assured he can still look for new players, but knows continued lack of clarity will do him no favours as the new season starts.

The Premier League have yet to comment on the Newcastle takeover saga which began in April and ended two weeks ago with the Saudi Public Investment Fund walking away, citing delays in the league's approval process, and COVID-19.

Yesterday Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery launched a bid to get league chief exec Richard Masters in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee to answer questions in Parliament.

The Labour MP wants clarity on why the takeover failed, rather than arguing for or against the deal.

More than 100,000 fans signed a petition calling for an explanation from the Premier League.

Mr Lavery told the Chronicle : "I have written to the chair of DCMS committee asking him if he would consider a session with the Premier League.

"The Premier League can then express their views on the reason why they are ignoring a petition of more than 100,000 people."

Background talks have continued around unblocking the Saudi deal.

If it was revived, it would still hit problems over state ownership, the piracy of top flight games with no legal way of watching the Premier League in Saudi Arabia, and their human rights record.

Meanwhile Steve Bruce could land out of contract Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick on a free transfer.

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