Mike Ashley has been given a price of £300million to relinquish control of Newcastle United.
The owner remains in Miami after travelling to the United States before the coronavirus pandemic pushed the world into lockdown and a state of crisis.
The Sports Direct magnate has had the Magpies up for sale since 2017 and at one stage there was talk of the asking price going beyond £350million, however, those hopes have all but disappeared now and £300million should be considered an excellent price.
Ashley was sitting on a profit-making machine at one stage at St James’ Park, but the state of the world – and especially football right now – means finally ending his tenure on Tyneside is a sensible option and arguably his only one unless he wants to lose millions.
The Toon owner clearly suspected there could be trouble ahead when he furloughed his off the field operations team to save money with the government currently picking up part of his tab at St James’.
Ashley has often been accused of not really caring about the long-term at United but sidelining his scouting team is a move that could have damaging effects in the future.
For Ashley, though, that could be somebody else’s problem soon.
Another reason why Ashley is looking to bail out is the lack of gate revenue which still brings him a healthy cash boost every other week as 52,000 fans or more come through the turnstiles and back his club financially through ticket sales and match day purchases as food and drink.
Yet we’re hearing – in a report in the Daily Mirror – that one Premier League club is losing £9million per week.
At Southampton, another club up for sale, owner Gao Jisheng has knocked off £50million from his asking price to sell with the Saints now down to an asking price of £250million.
Financially, this is only going one way for Ashley.
Of course, the better news for Newcastle fans is that if everything continues to go smoothly the club will never have been in better shape in terms of money.
The joint bid of Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben brothers and Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could even mean the Magpies are the richest club in the Premier League.
For now, the wait goes on and until the Premier League emerge with the green light some fans are just enjoying to dream.
After years of trying to save money and not spend the full amount of top-flight TV and merit payments, resulting in one relegation battle after another, it would be typical of Ashley to jump ship now that there’s nothing in it for him anymore.