Mike Ashley taking a risk by announcing intention to sell Newcastle, says Christian Purslow
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 30/10/17 10:17pm
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley wants a quick sale to avoid any risk of relegation, according to former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow.
Ashley, who has owned Newcastle for a decade, officially put the club up for sale a fortnight ago after telling Sky Sports in August he was unable to compete with owners at the likes of Manchester City.
"It's very risky going public in any business announcing it is going to be sold but in this case, it is very clear that Mike Ashley wants out as soon as possible," Purslow told The Business on Sky Sports News.
"By my calculations, he has probably spent over £250m buying the club clearing its debts and investing. He has a chance now to recover that money.
Soccer Saturday Super 6
FREE TO PLAY: Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 jackpot for the fifth time this year!
"They [Newcastle] are flying in the league, they have a fantastic coach, the Premier League money is on the up but he knows it is a precarious position. He's been relegated twice in the 10 years he has owned the club.
"I don't think he wants to take that risk again hence the very unusual measure of not only announcing a quick sale but he is [also] willing to help buyers by staging the payments."
Purslow, who worked with Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez at Liverpool, says Ashley must do everything he can to keep the Spaniard happy in order to sell the club painlessly.
"I think there is a strong argument right now that he is the key asset of the football club," Purslow said.
"He is a top-tier manager. He's a manager used to working for the real cream teams around Europe, and I think right now, for Mike Ashley, keeping Rafa in the tent helping facilitate this sale is absolutely critical.
"Let me tell you any buyer wanting to buy Newcastle will want to engage with Rafael Benitez. They have to because losing Rafael Benitez as a new owner would be a catastrophic start point."