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Mike Ashley preparing for £50m takeover of Derby County

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Credit: CameraSport via Getty Images - Mike Ashley makes £50m offer for Derby County

Ex Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is in advanced talks with Derby’s administrators over becoming the clubs new owner and his bid will be the largest received so far.

If successful, Ashley is expected to buy Pride Park Stadium from former owner Mel Morris and plans to takeover all affairs at the club after it went into administration back in September.

The Rams have been deducted a total of 21 points in the 2021/2022 season, having been given a further nine point penalty in November, which means their chances of surviving relegation seem extremely unlikely. However, the current situation at the club seems be rallying the whole squad who are determined to defy the odds and remain a Championship side next season.

Ashley’s Sports Direct company has a large distribution centre based on the Pride Park industrial estate, which sits on the periphery of the stadium grounds.

It would be the return of Mike Ashley to English football after he sold Newcastle United to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia for £300million, following his 14-year stewardship. His time on Tyneside was disastrous for the football club and supporters, who were glad to see the back of the London-based businessman. Ashley failed to understand the area and what football meant to the people of Newcastle – he had no interest in what was good for the club.

Derby County are currently bottom of the table with 11 points but have found some fine form under boss Wayne Rooney, unbeaten in their last four league games and winning two without conceding a goal. They rescued a point in dramatic style last time out in the Championship with two goals in the last five minutes from Kazim-Richards and Curtis Davis to make it 2-2 at Reading.

Mike Ashley’s £50m valuation is set to be the highest received by the Administrators, Quantuma and is thought to be substantially more than the offer from General Sports Worldwide which includes former Derby chairman Andrew Appleby, former chief executive Sam Rush and Wolves’ former CEO Jez Moxey.

Adam Bate wrote a feature for Sky Sports back in October following the departure of Ashley from Newcastle: 

‘Icons were alienated, interlopers overpromoted. Money was spent sporadically and begrudgingly, the investment intermittent and haphazard. Strategy was absent. When it did emerge it was about no more than ticking over. Nobody could mistake it for ambition.

‘Under Ashley, this became a zombie club, an illusion of life.’

This short extract perfectly sums up his time at the Magpies, however as Derby are in administration, it’s likely Ashely will become owner if his bid for the club remains the highest.

 

 

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Newcastle To Reignite Interest In Leicester City Playmaker

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Newcastle want maddison

According to The Times, Newcastle are considering making a fresh move for James Maddison in January.

The Magpies saw two bids knocked back for the former Norwich City midfielder in the summer transfer window, with the second offer believed to be in the region of £45,000,000.

It was reported that Leicester were holding out for £60,000,000 for Maddison’s services, which was deemed too high by The Magpies’ heirarcy.

However, The Times is reporting that Newcastle are still keen on signing the 25-year-old to add further creativity to their midfield three.

The Toon will be hoping to agree on a cut-price for Maddison because, come January he will have 18 months left on his current Leicester contract.

The Foxes have had a torrid start to the new Premier League season, occupying the league’s bottom spot with just one point on the board.

There is uncertainty around the future of Foxes’ manager Brendon Rodgers, as Leicester City chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha is set to attend Monday’s fixture against Nottingham Forest, his first for six weeks.

If Leicester fail to win on Monday night, it could mean the end of Rodgers’ time at the King Power Stadium.

Besides Leicester’s poor start to the season, James Maddison has been a shining light scoring 3 goals in 6 games from midfield.

What would Maddison add to Newcastle?

Maddison heat map

James Maddison heatmap – Credit: SofaScore

From the heatmap above, you can gather that Maddison is given a free role behind the striker, as he often takes up positions on the left, right and centrally.

Last season Maddison was 6th for big chances created with 11. Newcastle’s highest was Allan Saint-Maximin with 7.

In addition, Bruno Guimarães was The Magpies’ most creative midfielder with 3 big chances created and he only arrived in January.

This shows that Newcastle are lacking creativity from the midfield positions, hence the club’s eagerness to strike a deal for Maddison.

The Foxes’ star man doesn’t just give you creativity from midfield he also plays his part with goals too, something that again is lacking in Eddie Howe’s current midfield options.

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Fulham vs Newcastle United: Match Preview

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The start of the new month marks the return of Premier League action for Newcastle United as they travel to the capital to face Marco Silva’s Fulham.

 

The newly promoted side couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. 

 

Ever since they held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw, back at the beginning of August, their momentum has continued to carry.

 

Wins against Brentford, Brighton and Nottingham Forest, paired with an important point away to Wolves have placed The Cottagers in 6th place in the Premier League. 

 

Not to mention, two, narrow 2-1 defeats to fellow London clubs Arsenal and Spurs, away from home, that both proved Fulham are here to play with the big boys this season and really do mean business.

 

Newcastle have not managed to win a Premier League game since the opening day of the season and an unconvincing performance in their previous encounter with Bournemouth suggests all three points are needed this Saturday. Especially, if the Magpies wish to gather momentum to push for a European spot this season.

 

However, the international break has not exactly done Eddie Howe any favours when it comes to picking his starting eleven for Saturday.

 

Chris Wood (rib) and Alexander Isak (thigh) will both be unavailable due to injuries picked up on international duty for New Zealand and Sweden.

 

Elliot Anderson is also a doubt to feature after he was forced to pull out of the Scotland U21 side due to a hamstring injury. The youngster could still make the squad, however, as reports revealed he has been training throughout the week.

 

Check out our full international round-up: https://northeastupdates.com/international-round-up-another-striker-injured-and-pope-starts-for-england/

 

Another positive for Newcastle United is the return of Jamal Lewis. Jamal started and played 153 minutes for Northern Ireland in their Nations League games against Kosovo and Greece.

 

Craig Hope, Daily Mail North-East football correspondent confirmed yesterday that he understands Bruno Guimaraes and Callum Wilson will both be “fine” for the Fulham game and that Allan Saint-Maximin has a “chance of bench”. He also confirmed the injured Jonjo Shelvey is making great progress and “is nearing return”.

 

 

As for Fulham, the obvious dangerman is former Magpies man Aleksandar Mitrovic who has already bagged himself six Premier League goals this season. However, the Serbian’s availability for his Newcastle United reunion is in doubt, this comes after the striker was spotted with a bandaged foot leaving the Ulleval stadium in Olso. Mitrovic scored in the 54th minute to make it 2-0 against Norway and put his side top of their Nations League B group.

 

 

New signings have made an impact for The Cottagers. Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Bernd Leno and Willian have all established themselves as first-team players since signing for the club in the summer. A few notable names with the likes of Leno and Willian having much-needed key Premier League experience.

 

Fulham haven’t beaten Newcastle since 2017 when they met in the Championship. Mitrovic was on the bench for the Toon that day as goals from Ryan Sessegnon and Tom Cairney handed Fulham a 3-1 win and all three points over Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle.

 

Since then, Newcastle haven’t managed to break the deadlock at St James’ Park when playing Fulham, drawing 0-0 in 2018 and 1-1 in 2020. However, they have been successful away from home keeping two clean sheets and scoring six goals in the last two away trips to Craven Cottage. Something Eddie Howe will look to continue on Saturday.

 

With Man United, Spurs, Wolves and Aston Villa all to be played in the month of October, these are the sorts of games the Magpies must take advantage of.

 

Kick-off is at three o’clock with England Darren as referee.

 

So, what do you think? How important would three points be for Newcastle on Saturday? Fulham a tough team to beat?

 

Join the conversation on our Facebook page …

 

PREDICTED LINEUP:

 

Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Willock, Bruno, Joelinton, Almiron, Wilson, Fraser

 

PREDICTED SCORE:

 

Fulham 1 – 2 Newcastle United

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International round-up: Another striker injured and Pope starts for England

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Image: @NUFC via Twitter

With a number of Newcastle United favourites in international action over the last week, some have impressed, but Chris Wood has added to a growing list of injury worries.

Nick Pope won his first international cap as a Newcastle United player during England’s disappointing 1-0 loss to Italy on Friday. He was picked ahead of Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale with Southgate’s first choice, Jordan Pickford, out injured. 

Despite the loss, solid shot-stopping and a command of his area may have helped Pope in his push for the World Cup squad. Pickford’s distribution and record for England will be hard to surpass, but Pope looks set to be England’s second choice keeper in Qatar this winter, as shown by Southgate sticking with him for Monday’s 3-3 draw with Italy. 

Pope’s performance against Germany was less than infallible, with a spillage leading to Havertz’s late equaliser. With England’s next action against Iran at the World Cup on 21st November, the Magpies’ no. 1 will hope he has done enough to be in Southgate’s plans.

Newcastle’s other representative in the Three Lions’ squad, Kieran Trippier, did not feature in either of the two Nations League games, with Reece James preferred at right wing-back.

Elsewhere, Ryan Fraser featured in two wins for Scotland, over Ukraine and Ireland. Against Ukraine on Wednesday, he impressed with two assists from corners. The Newcastle winger made another substitute appearance against Ireland on Saturday. Scotland face Ukraine again on Tuesday night, with the possibility of further action for Fraser in a packed schedule.

Down under, Chris Wood captained New Zealand in a 1-0 loss to Australia on Thursday. He faced the Socceroos again on Sunday, but was taken off with a rib injury. With Isak out too, Newcastle will likely be left with only the newly fit Callum Wilson as an attacking option come the return of the Premier League.

Miguel Almiron played the full 90 minutes of Paraguay’s 1-0 win over UAE on Friday, and could start again as the South American side face Morocco on Tuesday.

Newcastle star Bruno Guimaraes missed out on Brazil’s 3-0 demolition of Ghana on Friday, but could see action as his nation take on Tunisia on Tuesday.

Eddie Howe will hope his international contingent avoid any further injuries and are fit to face Fulham away on Saturday.

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