Rafa's hands tied as Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale - again

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley eyes imminent sale of Newcastle United

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley eyes imminent sale of Newcastle United

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley says he is "hopeful" the club will be sold to "an owner that will please everybody".

Ashley, who bought a controlling stake in the club in 2007, said he was not in exclusive talks with any party but confirmed they were "in a more progressed stage than they've ever been".

"I'd like it to be before the January transfer window", he told Sky News' Ian King show.

Ashley ended takeover talks with English businesswomen Amanda Staveley for the Magpies in January 2017 after she placed a £300 million ($397 million, 338 million euros) bid for the club.

Asked whether that was a realistic proposition, he added that it was "possible", but that realistic was "maybe too strong a word".

"[Is that] Realistic? It's possible".

And having been reportedly close to selling up in the past, Ashley revealed in a Sky News interview earlier today that his exit could finally be on the cards, with talks of a potential sale already at an advanced stage.

"Hopefully we can carry on the good form - just recent good form - and we can get the deal done".

Benitez's side lost 3-0 at home to West Ham on Saturday, a result which ended a run of three successive victories, their first of the season after a hard start.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez recently called on the board to remain committed to signing players and not have their appetite lessened by their recent three-game winning streak in the Premier League.

The club's precarious Premier League status has, in turn, made potential investors wary of meeting Ashley's demands, with fears of the economic impact that any relegation to the Championship might have.

'And whoever buys the club would presumably have to put in transfer funds for Rafa Benitez?'