It's happening - Exclusive: Pundit makes Newcastle takeover claim after Ashley reveal

Noel Whelan is convinced the prospective Newcastle United takeover is “happening” but warned it must be done before the end of this season.

The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the consortium fronted by PCP Capital Partners will need time to bed in at St James’ Park ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

The Chronicle report that current owner Mike Ashley is frustrated by the lack of progress from the Premier League regarding the Saudi-backed deal and claim he has sought clarity from officials over the delay.

The proposed deal has come under heavy fire for the involvement of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, with letters sent to the Premier League by critics and opposition.

Whelan admits he never thought the takeover would be cut and dry but he understands why frustration may be growing behind closed doors.

Whelan told Football Insider: “Look, this was something where we thought there was going to be the fit and proper person test and once that was ticked off the takeover could happen straight away.

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“A lot of things seem to be cropping up at the minute and no one seems to know what’s going on. I still think it will happen, I do, but I think Mike Ashley just wanted to get the deal done as quickly as possible, get the money in the bank and move on.

“I think that’s what Newcastle fans and players were hoping as well because you want the new consortium in place for the start of next season. These last remaining games would have given them a bit of time to bed in, have a look at the players that are already there at Newcastle and make their mind up who they want to keep.

“There’s lots of things that need to happen before the start of next season and the takeover is crucial for both parties to move on and get some clarity to where everyone stands come pre-season next year.

“It was always going to be one of these where it wasn’t going to happen straight away and it was a formality. There have already been people grumbling about the takeover, other clubs not wanting it to happen and rightly so because it would put them in the richest club bracket. 

“There’s lots of things that need to be ticked off but I think it will happen. I don’t think it will be one of these takeovers that just dwindles away. I think they’ll push for it.” 

In other Newcastle United news, Football Insider pundit has torn into the “scandalous” Mike Ashley after key development.