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Llambias - Toon deal close

Image: St James' Park: Troubled times

Derek Llambias believes troubled Newcastle could be in the hands of new owners next week.

Keegan linked with shock return as manager

Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias believes the troubled Championship club could be in the hands of new owners next week. The Magpies are limping towards the new season following their relegation from the Premier League with Mike Ashley desperate to sell and Chris Hughton in caretaker charge as an interim measure. Singapore-based Profitable Group withdrew their interest in the St James' Park outfit earlier in the week, blaming a lack of communication from Newcastle. Llambias, who has suggested the Steve McMahon-fronted consortium lacked the necessary finances to complete the deal, insists there are other parties interested who could agree a takeover within days. "We are dealing with several people and giving most of our time and attention to the sale," he told The Sun.

Catch 22

"You must remember that some parties make offers but when it comes to putting up proof of funds they are a long way from sealing a deal. "But I can say we are very close to completing a deal and it could happen next week." Llambias confirmed that Hughton will remain in charge of team affairs until new owners are appointed, insisting it would be foolhardy to make a permanent appointment in the current climate. He added: "It's Catch 22 - anyone who signs a deal will want their own choice of manager. "Look what happened when Mike took over, Sam Allardyce was already in place and he didn't want him."
One group reported to be interested in the Magpies is headed by Dubai tycoon Sirous Mahjoob, who has claimed he wants to bring Kevin Keegan back to St James' Park for a third spell as manager. Keegan walked away from Tyneside after becoming disillusioned at how transfer dealings were taken out of his hands by Ashley's appointment of Dennis Wise to take charge of player recruitment. Mahjoob's spokesman said: "The money is there. Mr Mahjoob has a healthy interest in football and is bidding to take over an ailing club with a great worldwide reputation. "He envisages a clean sweep with Kevin Keegan coming back as manager, this time with his own staff and control of players. Last time Keegan inherited a lot of people he didn't necessarily want and we don't want the same situation again. "He has nothing against Shearer. He just thinks Keegan retains greater global appeal."

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