Newcastle United are preparing for another season under Mike Ashley.
The club thought they were set to be the subject of a huge takeover from the Public Investment Fund, backed by Amanda Staveley and the state of Saudi Arabia.
With that came the promise of a huge transfer budget and the possibility of marquee signings in the coming months.
But PIF pulled out, citing the delays thrown in their way by the Premier League.
And that means that Ashley is again bankrolling their summer business.
There has to be a question mark hanging over the funds that will be given to manager Steve Bruce this summer, then.
But plans are underway to strengthen their squad nevertheless.
Sport Witness carries a report from German outlet Kicker surrounding Nabil Bentaleb.
The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder spent the second half of the season on loan at the Magpies from Schalke, making 12 appearances in the Premier League.
He did not score or provide an assist, but it seems that he could well make the move permanent.
The report states that Newcastle did have the option to sign Bentaleb permanently for €10 million (£9m) but opted against it.
Bentaleb has less than a year left of his contract and Kicker reports that he has been given time off to “sort out his sporting future.”
Newcastle are said to have decided against making the deal permanent in a bid to receive a better deal, and they could now sign him for as little as €6m (£5.4m).
That’s a major saving.
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
This is a very Ashley-esque deal.
They need to drive a hard bargain in this transfer window if they are to strengthen the squad as they wish to.
And signing Bentaleb for just £5.4m would be excellent business.
He has plenty of Premier League experience, making 58 appearances in total, and has trained for months under the management of Bruce.
As the window progresses, it feels as though this would be a bargain move.
It’s a low-cost, high-reward option and one Newcastle have to explore to the fullest.News Now - Sport News