By Alex McLeish

15th Apr, 2021 | 3:19pm

Ex-manager cites Ashley in intriguing Newcastle takeover claim after source shares update

Alex McLeish has tipped Newcastle United to be sold on the quiet with the Saudi-backed buyout still in place.

The former Premier League boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested it was only a matter of time before Mike Ashley manages to push the deal through after a protracted takeover saga.

A financial source has told Football Insider that Newcastle are confident the Amanda Staveley-fronted offer will go through as early as June as hostility to the deal softens.

Ashley launched legal action against the Premier League last year after they rejected the consortium’s bid.

The prospective investors are made up of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment fund, billionaire real-estate tycoons the Reuben Brothers and British financier Staveley.

McLeish admitted he felt it was inevitable the deal would go through.

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He also suggested a takeover would be completed on the down-low and announced out of the blue.

Asked if he felt like it was now or never for the takeover, McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Oh goodness. As Mike Ashley would say, once it starts to be talked about in public, the deal never happens.

“We’ll need to watch this space, I think. I’m not saying if it doesn’t happen over the summer it won’t happen after. You get the feeling it’s going to happen but when is the vital question.

“I suspect that if it does happen, it will be announced and we won’t know beforehand.”

Ashley has been in charge at St James’ Park for 14 years.

The club have been relegated from the Premier League twice in that time.

In other news, Newcastle United have been tipped to sign the next Mason Mount after big update.