Mike Ashley seems very eager to cut his ties with Newcastle United but is still holding out for more than £300 million from any potential buyer.
That is the sticking point when it comes to negotiations, especially with the Magpies only three points above the relegation zone and looking set for another relegation battle this season.
Potential buyers want the price down because of the threat of relegation and the amount of money needed to improve the squad; however, Ashley wants £300 million or more because of the lucrative TV money in English football.
A new owner on the horizon
Football finance expert, Keiran Maguire who is a football finance lecturer at the University of Liverpool believes Ashley is looking for a figure around £325 million.
Which is a reduced figure to this time last year when Amanda Staveley was quoted with £350 million which does show he is more likely to sell the club now compared to previous years.
Peter Kenyon is the leading person to take over the reins from Ashley after 11 years at the club.
Kenyon is set to be backed by American firm Rockefeller who have enough funds to make the Magpies competitive in the Premier League again, which will be music to Rafa Benitez's ears.
Willing to be a bit flexible
According to Maguire then a potential buyer and Ashley may be able to negotiate a price for the club that works for both parties as he told BBC Newcastle: “I think Mike Ashley is willing to be a bit more flexible in terms of price."
However, he does believe for a sale to go through the Sports Direct owner will have to meet a potential buyer below the £300 million price he is after:
“My understanding is that the price he is looking for is £325million so he might be willing to drop a little bit and others might be willing to go up a bit but at that price, Newcastle is looking a little bit expensive."
External factors may lead to a sale
Maguire believes Ashley may feel he has to sell the club now to focus on getting his other businesses back on track after his share prices of Sports Direct have fallen dramatically in the last two or three months.
Maguire went onto say: “He’s currently got an ongoing legal dispute with Rangers up in Scotland, there’s him trying to control House of Fraser and dealing with the landlords and consequences of shop closures which is taking up a lot of his time.
“The last thing he needs is Newcastle United on his hands as well. He’s not in love with the club and there’s nothing wrong with holding it for investment reasons but it’s not making a lot of money.
"I think he’s willing to be a bit more flexible in terms of the price he’s looking for," Maguire concluded.