Newcastle United have been put on the market by owner Mike Ashley. Potential owners are lining up to bid on the club and rumours of Chinese and Middle Eastern takeovers have made the rounds. However, it is believed the possible new owners could come from the United States as several names have popped up.
Who could be Newcastle United’s new owner?
One name that has come up is American businessman Robert Kraft. The billionaire already owns the NFL’s New England Patriots, Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution and, more recently, he has invested in an esports franchise.
Kraft has a pedigree in sports investment and was one of the original owners that got MLS off the ground in 1996. However, ask any Revolution supporter and they will tell you his investment in the team has been lacklustre for over 20 years.
Despite New England having solid and title contending seasons, an entertaining team has been lacking in the last 10 years. New England are one of two MLS teams that still share an NFL stadium, and Kraft has wavered on investing in the infrastructure the team deserves. Add in the rumours that many newer MLS owners want to change the league’s archaic rules, while Kraft is said to be against them. He makes millions from his Patriots team thanks to the NFL’s ability to generate money and its revenue sharing. Kraft doesn’t lack funds, if he buys Newcastle. But would he be another Stan Kroenke?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also rumoured as a potential Newcastle United bidder. Zuckerberg is a multi-billionaire. He was previously linked with buying Tottenham, but could get Newcastle United for peanuts. Reports indicate Ashley wants out so badly, he will sell for around £200 million. Although £350m is believed to be what Ashley really wants for the club. He also wants the sale done by Christmas, and will take payments in instalments.
Zuckerberg’s interest in buying Newcastle United could be more than just what it appears on the surface. Facebook has been linked with the Premier League’s next television contract. This could be a way to get closer to the league before bidding; although it would seem like a conflict of interest. The good news for Newcastle supporters is Zuckerberg has billions of pounds to potentially invest in coaching and playing staff.
Russian politician Mikhail Prokhorov is the third top candidate to buy the Magpies. Prokhorov owns the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The Russian is looking for a buyer for the NBA team, possibly to fund a move to the Premier League, and has put the team up for sale for a whopping $2 billion. During his time as owner, the Nets have been awful. However, he can claim to have moved the team from New Jersey to the hipster New York mecca of Brooklyn.
Who’s out of the running?
While Kraft, Zuckerberg and Prokhorov are the leading candidates, two possible buyers have confirmed they are not interested. Inter Milan president and DC United owner Erick Thohir, has indicated he will not bid on the Magpies. In addition, McVitie’s biscuit company owner Murat Ulker has stated he is not interested.
Who would you like to see as Newcastle United’s new owner?