Newcastle takeover: What Sheikh Khaled wants to do with Rafa Benitez after £350m deal
NEWCASTLE’S prospective new owener will try and keep manager Rafa Benitez at the club if his takeover bid is successful, according to reports
Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is said to be on the brink of buying the club from Mike Ashley in a £350million deal and The Mail claim he is ‘very keen’ to ensure Benitez is kept on as boss after his arrival.
Benitez’ future remains uncertain and he has been at odds with current owner Ashley for most of his three years on Tyneside.
However, the prospect of much-needed funds to strengthen his squad could convince the Spaniard to stay and oversee what might be the most exciting time in the club’s recent history.
Sources are said to have told The Mail a deal between Ashley and Sheikh Khaled has already been ‘concluded’.
Newcastle, though, have refused to comment on the reports and an official response from the club is not expected until they have spoken with Ashley.
Under Ashley’s ownership, Newcastle have been relegated from the Premier League twice.
For the majority of his tenure, the club has been up for sale while previous takeover bids have failed to materialise.
Benitez has ambitions of taking them to the Champions League and Ashley has previously conceded he does not have the money to get them there.
Dubai-based Sheikh Khaled is the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour and could provide the boss with considerable backing. However, he is understood to be not quite as wealthy as his cousin.
It has been claimed that he failed in a £2billion bid to take over at Liverpool last year. Sheikh Khaled, 61, is president of the UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation and is said to be a keen football fan.
He would have to pass the Premier League’s owners and directors test but that would come at a later date.
As far as Benitez goes, his contract expires on June 30 and he is currently in negotiations over extending it.