Newcastle United took a “massive” step to ensuring the prospective takeover goes ahead by beating Burnley, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted Mike Ashley would struggle to sell up if the Magpies suffered a third relegation under his stewardship.
A well-placed financial source told Football Insider Newcastle are privately confident a Saudi-backed takeover will be given the green light a year after it was blocked by the Premier League.
Ashley is currently engaged in legal action against the Premier League and there is a sense the ruling body’s hostility to the deal has receded.
It is understood there is hope the buyout could take place as early as June.
However, Newcastle’s Premier League status is still uncertain after a dire run of form over the last couple of months.
Sunday’s 2-1 win over Burnley was only their third victory in their last 20 league games.
However, they now sit six points above Fulham in 18th and have a game in hand.
Hutton insisted a takeover relied on Newcastle playing Premier League football next season.
As such, he claimed victory over the Clarets was “huge” for Steve Bruce’s men.
“It was massive,” Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“Just before the Rangers game I was sitting watching it and Burnley went up 1-0. I was thinking: ‘Oof, this is a problem.’
“I did worry for them but they showed great fight to get back into it. Saint-Maximin was obviously an absolute talisman, a top, top player. These are the kind of guys that Steve Bruce is going to have to lean on from now until the end of the season.
“I think in terms of where they were at in the league, and these three points, was absolutely huge. It gives them that little bit of breathing room.
“You can totally understand that a takeover is only really going to happen if they stay in the top flight.
“If they go down to the Championship it’s obviously going to be difficult. Moving forward, if it does happen, there’s a lot of questions to be asked.
“Players coming in, going out, the manager so there’s a lot of uncertainty there that’s going to have to be cleared up.”