Newcastle subject of new £350m bid brokered by convicted fraudster as takeover takes twist

3 min

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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s potential sale of the club has taken a new twist as media mogul Henry Mauriss is reportedly waiting in the wings should the Saudi Arabia consortium’s offer be blocked.

Mohammed bin Salman is attempting to strike a £300m deal and he has enlisted the help of Amanda Staveley to make it happen.

Ashley has agreed to an exclusivity period which runs until early May after the Saudi chief paid a non-returnable £17m deposit and the papers were filed with Companies House.

However, the Premier League have yet to authorise Bin Salam’s takeover and they are said to be nervous over Saudi’s human rights record.

The Mirror claims that could open the door for Mauriss to rule over St James’ Park.

It is added that Chris Ronnie, a good pal of Ashley, has been brought in to broker the deal.

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Mike Ashley

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is looking to sell the club (Image: GETTY)

The two cannot speak until next month because of the exclusivity rights signed with the Saudi consortium.

Ronnie is the former boss of JJB Sports and was imprisoned for four years in 2014 for fraud worth £1m.

The convicted fraudster apparently brought Mauriss to the table in January and it is thought he would have no further involvement once a deal is struck.

Mauriss made his fortune in the credit card and finance industry before becoming the CEO of Clear TV, a media company operating a number of platforms.

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Henry Mauriss is wanting to purchase Newcastle for £350m (Image: INTERNET PICTURE)

A source close to the bidder told the Mirror: “He’s a charitable and honourable man – and is desperate to become Newcastle’s new owner. It’s a genuine bid.

“He’s a successful player in the media world in America and has a big interest in English football.”

There have been some strong objections to Bin Salam’s proposed takeover of Newcastle.

International broadcaster biIN SPORTS last week sent a strongly worded letter to the Premier League accusing Saudi Arabia of TV rights piracy.

Chris Ronnie

Chris Ronnie is reported to be brokering the new takeover bid (Image: Jack Taylor / Shutterstock)

UK’s culture secretary Oliver Dowden told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee that the ultimate decision lies with the Premier League.

However, if they do decide to block the bid then it could open the door for Mauriss to strike a deal with Ashley.

Newcastle have been linked with a number of big-name managers since the talk of a takeover started.

Mauricio Pochettino is one boss who keeps being linked with replacing Steve Bruce and Craig Burley thinks he would be a good appointment.

“You start the building blocks with management,” Burley said.

“First and foremost, if they do get this through and take over from Mike Ashley, you make a statement by putting the structure in place, and firstly the manager in place. Then you look at the playing staff.

“Coutinho, Koulibaly, all these guys are going to be chased by some of the most successful teams in the modern era. That’s what you’re up against.

“For me, you start with management and structure, and it snowballs from there.

“You bring a manager in with promises, if he has a sense of the direction the club is going in, you’ve got a better chance of enticing those players into the club.”

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