By Russell Edge

8th Dec, 2017 | 11:03am

Given: 'Alarm bells' ringing at Newcastle - this is a major issue affecting the players

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given has said that the ongoing takeover rumours will be affecting the players’ performances and that there should be real concern over their recent form.

The Magpies have picked up only one point in their last six games in the Premier League, with a draw against West Brom coming amid defeats to Burnley, Bournemouth, Manchester United, Watford and Chelsea.

It is a run which has seen Rafael Benitez and his men slide down the top flight table, and are currently sitting 15th, just five points ahead of those sides in the relegation zone.

While the performances on the pitch are disappointing, there is renewed hope off the field, with the latest report from the Sun suggesting that both current owner Mike Ashley and proposed investor Amanda Staveley are confident of securing a takeover deal.

However Given, who spent 11 and a half years on Tyneside, suggests that the takeover rumours surrounding the club will be distracting those in the dressing room, which in turn could be impacting their performances.

He also states that the Magpies have issues at both ends of the pitch and that it could continue to be painful watching for the Toon Army if the club fail to sign new recruits in January.

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He told the Shields Gazette: “There’s so much uncertainty (about the takeover). No-one really knows what’s going to happen.

“It’s all speculation at the minute, and the players will be talking about it as well in the changing room. It’s easy to say it shouldn’t and it wouldn’t (be a distraction), but it has to be in the lads’ heads.

“It’ll be a long hard season if they don’t get any players in in January, whether Mike Ashley’s in charge or someone else.

“They’ve been conceding too many goals. There are alarm bells in that sense. If you’re losing a game 1-0, you can be unlucky.

“The other problem is that they’re not scoring enough goals. If you can’t score goals, you’ll be struggling most weeks.”

The Magpies will look to return to winning ways on Saturday when they play host to Leicester City, who come into the clash off the back of a 1-0 win over Burnley.

In other Newcastle United news, Nobby Solano has blasted the club’s business dealings and is also concerned about the future.

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