Newcastle United is being circled by restructuring firms this weekend as billionaire owner Mike Ashley is believed to be offering loans of up to £40m for a buyer to take the Championship football club off his hands before the season begins this month.
It is understood restructuring experts have made unsolicited approaches to Ashley in case the sale falls through, but he has refused to talk to them and is instead concentrating on trying to secure a sale.
There have been fears in the City that Newcastle could go into administration if the deal collapses. But friends of the tycoon claim administration is the last thing on his mind and are denying the rumours. His advisers are locked in talks with a consortium believed to be from the Middle East.
Even so, any deal is expected to fall short of Ashley’s £100m asking price — and payments will be made in stages, with top-ups depending on how well the team performs.