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Newcastle takeover bid moves closer

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Newcastle United fans are getting very, very excited.

PCP Capital Partners, led by Amanda Staveley, have signed a confidentiality agreement with the club’s owners after Mike Ashley put the club up for sale earlier this week

Ashley is said to value Newcastle at over $520 million, while Staveley is said to believe the club is worth close to $395 million, so there is plenty of negotiating still to happen but things are heading in the right direction.

In a statement on Monday Ashley said he would allow any potential buyer to pay the overall transaction fee in installments, while he also wants a buy to be completed by the end of December.

Who is Staveley?

She was seen at a Newcastle vs. Liverpool game at St James’ Park earlier this month as speculation was rife that a new owner was being lined up to buy Newcastle. That is indeed the case and Staveley, 44, is now able to look over the finances of the club exclusively.

Staveley oversaw the purchase of Manchester City by Abu Dhabi United and also lined up a deal for Liverpool to be bought by Dubai International Captial which fell through in the past.

Her close links to the Middle East has seen her become one of the most prominent British businesswomen in recent years and she currently manages over $34 billion of wealth globally. Staveley and her investors are said to be interested in buying several Premier League clubs.

Ashley’s lawyer, Andrew Henderson, released a statement on Thursday stating several other parties have inquired about buying the club since the announcement came that they were up for sale.

“Since Monday, a number of additional parties have come forward which we believe to be credible. We are also continuing to engage with a number of parties with whom we had entered into negotiations prior to Monday’s announcement.”

Things are moving very quickly for Newcastle’s fans as they thought they’d never get rid of much-maligned owner Ashley who is a lifelong fan of the club and bought them in 2007.

After two relegations from the Premier League (followed by instant returns to the PL on both occasions) Ashley has been accused of failing to spend money on the playing squad and realize Newcastle’s full potential as they challenged for the Premier League title on numerous occasions during the 1990s.

With Rafael Benitez getting the most of his squad and the Magpies sitting in the top 10 of the PL as things stand, the future is looking bright for Newcastle with plenty of investment expected if this sale does go through to Staveley or those she is closely connected with.

Mike Ashley puts Newcastle United up for sale

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Newcastle United is up for sale. That sound you can hear is Magpies fans around the globe rejoicing.

[ MORE: Newcastle draw at Saints ]

Much-maligned owner Mike Ashley has long said he would sell the club if a viable buyer arrived and it appears the time is now.

Ashley bought Newcastle back in 2007 and has overseen two relegations from the Premier League, plus has been heavily criticized for not spending enough on the playing squad.

The businessman wants to sell the club by Christmas and in a statement the club said it would “give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payment.” In simpler terms: Ashley will give potential buyers a chance to pay the full fee in installments.

With investment specialist Amanda Staveley seen at a recent Newcastle vs. Liverpool game, speculation was rife that a new owner was being lined up to buy Newcastle. That is indeed the case.

Staveley oversaw the purchase of Manchester City by Abu Dhabi United and also lined up a deal for Liverpool to be bought by Dubai International Captial which fell through. Her investment management company, PCP Capital Partners, is rumored to be involved in any potential sale of Newcastle.

Below is a statement released by the club via St. James’ Holdings limited, the company which owns Newcastle.

As a result of increasing press speculation regarding the future of Newcastle United, the owner of the club, St. James Holdings Limited, wishes to clarify its intentions.

As one of the Premier League’s oldest and best supported football clubs – and for the benefit of its many fans and supporters in the UK and across the world – Newcastle United requires a clear direction and a path to a bright and successful future.

To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.

To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments.

A process will now commence of identifying new ownership for the club that will be capable of delivering the sustained investment in and dedication to the club that is necessary for it to achieve its ambitions.

Southampton 2-2 Newcastle United: Spirited split of spoils

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  • Magpies lead 1-0 at half
  • Gabbiadini bags brace
  • Perez scores 86 seconds later
  • 31 total shots (19 for NUFC)

Manolo Gabbiadini scored a pair of equalizers, and Southampton came within a hair of a deserved win against Newcastle United in a 2-2 draw at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez scored for the Magpies, who led in each half.

Newcastle inches to 11 points, staying ninth on the table, while Saints are dead-even with 10th place West Brom ahead of the Baggies’ Monday match versus Leicester City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

There was good pace to the game early, and Christian Atsu missed the left post with a hard left-footed shot off a Newcastle corner kick.

Dusan Tadic had a chance for Southampton inside of 15 minutes, but his effort sailed over Rob Elliot‘s frame. Moments later, Tadic failed to head a Nathan Redmond cross into the goal.

Newcastle claimed a series of corner kicks as the match neared 20 minutes, but Jamaal Lascelles‘ header was claimed by ex-Magpies backstop Fraser Forster.

Hayden then scored, depositing a blocked Christian Atsu shot past a helpless Forster.

Saints began to assert a hold on the game over the next 10 minutes, and Maya Yoshida sent a tempting cross that found no bull’s eye in the 29th minute.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Forster saw a Joselu shot hit the cross bar and then pushed a rebound out for a corner kick.

That’s when Gabbiadini worked Javier Manquillo on the right edge, working to the top of the 18 and hitting a low left-footed shot past Elliot.

It was a fine goal.

Perez made sure the stalemate lasted barely more than 60 seconds, with Jonjo Shelvey starting a sequence that saw the Spaniard bury his own rebound from an acute angle for his first Premier League goal since March 5, 2016.

DeAndre Yedlin should have been sent off in the 56th minute when, on yellow, his studs-up challenge was let off with a warning.

Gabbiadini leveled for Saints when Shane Long hit the deck in the box after contact from Florian Lejeune.

The French defender had a header cleared off the line by Steven Davis in an 89th minute bid for redemption. It came during a stretch of near-complete Saints domination.

WATCH LIVE: Southampton vs. Newcastle United

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Southampton hopes a mid-table battle with Newcastle United can help it get its season healthy at St. Mary’s on Sunday (Watch, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Saints enter the day two points behind the ninth place Magpies, who will be hoping to get a road win to move it level on points with Chelsea and Arsenal.

LINEUPS

Southampton: Forster, Cedric, Van Dijk, Yoshida, Bertrand, Lemina, Romeu, Tadic, Gabbadini, Redmond, Long. Subs: McCarthy, Hoedt, McQueen, Ward-Prowse, Boufal, Davis, Austin.

Newcastle United: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Atsu, Perez, JoseluSubs: Darlow, Clark, Gamez, Merino, Diame, Murphy, Gayle.

PL Sunday preview: Unexpected battlers at the top, bottom

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Sunday’s slate of fixtures features a pair of relegation battlers as well as a pair of top-six chasers, only very few of the above happen to be who you thought they’d be at the start of the season…

[ PL ROUNDUP: Man City, Spurs win while everyone else drops points ]

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Everton — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Of the four sides set for action on Sunday, only Brighton have started the season as many predicted: in 16th after seven games, just two points clear of the relegation zone. Of the other three, Newcastle United would have been the next most likely to be faced with a relegation battle, but alas it’s Everton who head into Falmer Stadium 17th in the PL table, one spot and four goals worse off than the newly promoted Seagulls.

After spending $200 million in the summer, the Toffees were supposed to be the ones bidding to break up the top-six hierarchy — not Newcastle, as is actually the case.

“I accept that everyone is entitled to his opinion and as a coach I don’t run away from criticism,” Everton boss Ronald Koeman said this week. “We know within Everton that we currently play under our level and that the results should be better. The moment I made the move from Southampton to a club with such ambitions, I knew I could be in a difficult situation if investments were not accompanied by results. I’m pretty calm with it.”

As for Brighton, things are slowly but surely turning around. Having scored just five goals through seven games, four of the five have come in their last two home games — 3-1 and 1-0 victories over West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle, respectively. Brighton boss Chris Hughton, for one, isn’t panicking.

“We could have had slightly more than seven points but we’re a new team coming into this division and we’ve already played Arsenal and Man City,” he said this week. “There’s not a sense of satisfaction at this moment because when you have competitive players, you don’t like losing. But there’s more positives to come from the game than negatives.”

INJURIES: Brighton — OUT: Tomer Hemed (suspension), Steve Sidewell (back), Beram Kayal (leg), Sam Baldock (calf); QUESTIONABLE: Davy Propper (thigh) | Everton — OUT: Ross Barkley (hamstring), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Seamus Coleman (leg), Yannick Bolasie (knee); RETURNING: James McCarthy (knee)

[ MORE: De Bruyne’s brilliance lauded | Klopp no fan of Mourinho’s style ]

Southampton vs. Newcastle United — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

A win at St. Mary’s Stadium on Sunday could see Newcastle climb as high as fifth in the league table, depending on the margin of victory (a run-of-the-mill five-goal win would do the trick). Rafa Benitez‘s side is undoubtedly one of the biggest stories of the still-young season, having lost their first two games following a tumultuous summer of transfer dealings, only to rebound with three straight wins and points from four of the following five games.

As for their opponents, back-to-back losses to Manchester United and Stoke City leave Southampton chasing three points just to climb back into the top half of the table. While Newcastle will have been disappointed for the recent international break to arrive when it did (their 1-1 draw with Liverpool two weeks ago put everyone on notice), it couldn’t have come at a better time for Saints. These kind of early-season struggles are to be expected, though, according to midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

“This season we have a new manager, a new style of play and a few new signings as well, which have had a positive impact on the team,” he said this week. “It’s a building process still for us all, but it’s a positive one in the making. After this two weeks, it’s a great chance for us to hit the ground running and take the league by storm now.”

INJURIES: Southampton — PROBABLE: Shane Long (hip) | Newcastle — OUT: Paul Dummett (hamstring); PROBABLE: Jonjo Shelvey (finger), Matthew Ritchie (thigh), Christian Atsu (knee)