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MOVE IT ALONG; Ashley wants to see takeover progress.

Byline: Lee Ryder

MIKE Ashley wants to see solid progress on the sale of Newcastle United in January as uncertainty continues to linger around St James' Park.

Ashley is due back from his holiday after Newcastle's FA Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers on January 5. As we reported earlier this month the Sports Direct magnate feels the onus is on interested parties to put their final bids on the table.

The pace of the negotiations since Ashley spoke on Sky News on December 3 has left fans frustrated.

Ashley will ask for detailed progress reports on all four interested parties, and though tension is increasing on Tyneside, none of the groups have withdrawn their interest.

In addition to that, the billionaire is not interested in taking the club off the market and is eager to move on but going into this weekend, Ashley was still waiting for a satisfactory offer.

With the transfer window about to open, supporters have started to question what happens next and Benitez even admitted he was worried about recruitment.

Ashley is believed to be committed to spending in January but this could increase the total value of a takeover, with all outgoing funds set to be added to the final asking price, according to sources close to the deal.

Benitez has submitted a final shortlist of names to managing director Lee Charnley and enquiries on some deals are under way. Loan deals are now deemed the most realistic option in the eyes of Benitez's backroom team.

Newcastle have stayed in touch with Atlanta United on Miguel Almiron but they are yet to submit a concrete offer.

The Paraguayian is almost certain to leave the MLS side in January and have signed Pity Martinez as a replacement from River Plate.

A fee of PS22million has been mooted for Almiron and it remains to be seen if Ashley will finally break the club transfer record after 11 years in charge.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 30, 2018
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