Representatives of a half-brother of Manchester City’s owner Sheik Mansour claimed on Sunday night that he is on the brink of sealing an extraordinary £350 million takeover of Newcastle United.
The closest working associate to Sheik Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan told Sportsmail on Sunday night that a deal is “concluded” between Mike Ashley and Sheik Khaled, an Emirati member of the family who govern Abu Dhabi.
The representatives also insisted that the prospective new owner is very keen to keep Rafa Benitez as manager of the club and the takeover is expected to be done in time for this summer’s transfer window.
The Sheik believes that Ashley has decided to end his turbulent twelve years in charge and agreed to the sale.
Senior Newcastle United sources refused to comment when approached by this newspaper on Sunday night.
“We would politely decline to comment at this time,” a senior source said.
Both Sheik Khaled and City owner Sheik Mansour are sons of the late Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nehayan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.
Khaled is the youngest of 19 sons.
Sportsmail revealed in August that Sheik Khaled had failed in a £2 billion bid to buy Liverpool in a proposal that would have constituted the most expensive takeover in the history of football.
Documents outlined the buyout that would have been a joint venture between Sheik Khaled and a minority stake Chinese partner.
Midhat Kidwai, the managing director of Sheik Khaled’s conglomerate of companies, also met Liverpool chairman Tom Werner in New York.
However, an email chain seen by Sportsmail showed an American investment firm chased the Sheik’s representatives for both a £25 million downpayment deposit for the £2 billion takeover and repeated attempts were made to see proof of funds.
Neither were forthcoming at the time and one source with knowledge of the Sheik’s operations expressed cynicism that a deal would be imminent with Newcastle.
In the case of Liverpool, the deal never reached the stage where major shareholders John W Henry or Michael Gordon met the Abu Dhabi investors.
However, Sheik Khaled was confident on Sunday night that he has finally achieved his dream of a Premier League takeover.