Football

Ashley looks at fresh options

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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has been casting his net ever wider in the search for a buyer as several potential investors denied any interest.

Ashley's presence in Dubai, along with managing director Derek Llambias, Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez, has caused a flurry of speculation since he confirmed on Sunday evening that the club is for sale.

However, his trip has yet to pay dividends with the Dubai Investment Group following Dubai International Capital in insisting they have no intention of taking Newcastle off Ashley's hands.

A statement from Dubai Investment Group said: "Following incorrect media speculation about Newcastle Football Club, Dubai Investment Group can confirm that it is not involved in any negotiations to buy Newcastle Football Club, nor does it plan to do so in the future."

The denial came amid reports that Ashley had snubbed a meeting with Arab investors after being told they were prepared to offer only £200million for the club.

That would have represented less than half the £480million said to have been quoted in documents handed to representatives of the emirate's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, earlier this week.

But sources close to Ashley have claimed that the billionaire, who spent the evening at a Dubai beach bar with Llambias and executive director (football) Wise, was never due to attend the talks, with vice-president (player recruitment) Jimenez there as his representative.

Both the Dubai Investment Group, an arm of Dubai Holding, and Zabeel Investments have been linked with a bid for the club.

However, Zabeel Investments chairman Mohammed Ali Al-Hashimi has insisted he has had no direct contact with Newcastle or their representatives.

He told www.ArabianBusiness.com: "We have not had any contact. I am not interested in any [English Premier League club] right now."

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