Shearer left on hold as rumours of sale return

Twenty-four hours on from in-depth discussions between Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and Alan Shearer, there was no news from St James' Park yesterday, a vacuum that may well be disturbing Shearer, especially as Keith Harris was in Newcastle on Tuesday. Harris is the investment banker commissioned by Ashley to sell Newcastle last September and his presence in the city was almost certainly related to the club and a possible takeover. Harris did not stay long – he was in Rome last night for the Champions League final – but it meant another question mark has arisen over Ashley's intentions.

That sort of speculation has led to planning at the club being put on hold. The fact that Newcastle have recently prepared accounts for due diligence means that a takeover could be achieved quicker than normal.

Shearer has stressed the importance of acting swiftly if Newcastle are to give themselves the best chance to redress relegation from the Premier League successfully, but if he does not hear back from Ashley today the working week will nearly be over.

There is no guarantee Shearer will receive any response today and similarly there is no guarantee that when one does arrive that it will be what he wants to hear. All of these factors make the situation at Newcastle increasingly more fragile.

The assumption earlier this week that Shearer would carry on as manager was fuelled by the language Ashley used – "Bringing Alan Shearer back to Newcastle United was the best decision I have made," he said – but it is not known how close the two are to agreements on the issues of transfer money and staff.

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