Americans favourite to take over Newcastle

There appears to be some confidence in the City of London that the proposed sale of Newcastle United has entered a new phase and that an as yet undisclosed American consortium is favourite to buy the Championship club from owner Mike Ashley. Whether Ashley gets the £100m asking price remains to be seen but there are suggestions a preliminary agreement could even be announced this week.

Ashley only formally put the club back on the market a week ago, but it is likely that he decided to sell as soon as relegation from the Premier League was confirmed at the end of May and broker Keith Harris of Seymour Pierce was reportedly commissioned to find a buyer soon after.

There have been several parties linked with a bid and an American interest has been mentioned from the beginning. It is said that Newcastle have prepared their accounts for due diligence and that the process could be quicker than usual.

There is a feeling of the last days of the Ashley regime at St James', from where the managing director, Derek Llambias, was allegedly absent for the bulk of last week. Llambias had suffered the embarrassment of having his company BMW repossessed by a local hire firm.

The possible proximity of a sale of the club has also meant that player sales have been placed on hold. But Michael Owen, a free agent, has had a personal brochure produced to advertise his talents, playing and commercial, by his representatives.

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