Saudis’ proxy war hits Newcastle to place the Premier League in a diplomatic bind | Louise Taylor

Newcastle United fans dream of a return to the Champions League should Mike Ashley sell the club, but the politically sensitive Saudi-funded takeover seems to have stalled

Glance at some recent headlines concerning Newcastle United and it would seem safe to assume that the Saudi Arabian flag is already fluttering high above St James’ Park. For the moment, though, fans mesmerised by speculation that Philippe Coutinho, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane and Kalidou Koulibaly are all Tyneside-bound must make do with photographs of an estate agent’s “Sold” sign deposited outside the Milburn Stand.

It was a joke intended to celebrate the apparently imminent end of Mike Ashley’s thoroughly miserable 13-year ownership of Newcastle and mark a long-mooted, largely Saudi-funded £300m takeover of the club. Yet, for the moment at least, the laughter has stopped.

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