Shearer left in limbo as sale plans stall

Newcastle United remain managerless three weeks before the squad is due to return to pre-season training. Another 24 hours passed without Alan Shearer receiving a call from club owner Mike Ashley to say that he is or is not wanted on a permanent basis.

Given that Ashley's view a fortnight ago was that Shearer was the man for the job, Shearer is entitled to be bemused by the lack of information. If, as it increasingly appears, Ashley has decided to sell the club without appointing a manager, then Shearer deserves to be told, though that would cause fury on Tyneside.

With City of London sources pouring cold water on claims from a Singapore-based company, the Profitable Group, that it has held talks with Ashley about a £100m buy-out, a UK-based consortium and an American grouping remain the two parties most likely to buy Newcastle.

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