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The £300million Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United is close to completion

The £300million Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle United has moved a step closer after a deposit to buy the club was paid.

Sources have disclosed that cash has exchanged hands — with the remainder of the balance due when the Premier League approves the change of ownership.

It is understood that all relevant paperwork has been signed, with the process expected to take three to four weeks.

Should all go ahead as planned, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund will become the new majority owners at St James' Park, holding 80 per cent of the club along with 10 per cent splits for financier Amanda Staveley and property tycoons David and Simon Reuben.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan will become Newcastle’s new chairman if the deal is completed.

Al-Rumayyan is governor of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), the chairman of Saudi Aramco — the largest oil company in the world — and sits on the board at Uber.

He speaks fluent English, plays golf off a handicap of 12 and is a close associate of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is backing the buy-out. 

Mike Ashley will finally relinquish control after his deeply unpopular 13-year reign when the Premier League pass checks on the fitness of Al-Rumayyan to run the club and approve the new owners’ financial plans, which include pumping £200m into recruitment and infrastructure.

A 350-page document has gone to the Premier League which reveals details of ambitions to compete in the Champions League by offering fresh investment in three-year stages as well as new sponsorships.

Ashley was forced to drop his asking price by £40m because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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