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Newcastle United: Takeover bids rejected; Lascelles praises team spirit; Albert surprised at relegation

The big news regarding Newcastle United is that Mike Ashley has rejected foreign bids for the club according to the Telegraph. The Sports Direct tycoon doesn’t want to sell the club, despite Chinese interest after relegation from the Premier League. The interested parties believed that they could convince Ashley to sell for a bargain price over the summer, but the Englishman wasn’t interested and that is likely to be his stance for the foreseeable future. It was a blow when the club were relegated and it would have been understandable if he had sold up given the financial implications of a season outside the Premier League.

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Despite his fractured relationship with the fanbase, there is relief that the owner didn’t sell the club this summer, as that would have provided upheaval that could have damaged Newcastle’s promotion hopes. Rafa Benitez is doing a superb job re-building the club and may not have decided to stay had there been a takeover during the summer. Although Mike Ashley has done a lot to anger supporters in the past, the club are in a good position at the moment and there is optimism about the future. It is sometimes better the devil you know and Newcastle supporters won’t be disappointed that new owners aren’t on the horizon any time soon.

After his recent good performances, club captain Jamaal Lascelles has been talking about the Newcastle dressing room, which is united this season. That wasn’t the case last season and he believes that the summer signings have played a major part in the change that has taken place. The change in mentality was apparent on Tuesday as Aleksandar Mitrovic joined in with the celebrations following Dwight Gayle’s goal, despite not featuring since the international break.

“I’ve never been involved in anything like this (before). Last season was a bit up and down. This season’s completely different.

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“Rafa’s made some great signings, not just talented players but great lads. The dressing room is so important. It does go a long way.

“If you do things outside the dressing room, then you’re going to do it on the pitch.”

This may not seem like a huge thing, but it was due to the fractured dressing room that the club were relegated. The appointment of Rafa Benitez has played a huge part in the change and if they achieve promotion as expected, it would be difficult to see them suffering from similar problems. The Magpies are now at the top of the Championship and it would take a brave man to bet against them staying there.

Fans favourite Philippe Albert has been talking about Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic in the Chronicle. The Belgian was surprised that the club were relegated last season and believed they would have a good season after the double signing from his former club Anderlecht.

“They had quality players but they did a lot of things wrong last season.

“It just goes to show that quality is not enough now – you have to have the right mentality to go with it.

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“You have to adapt yourself to the club you are playing for.

“Honestly, when they bought Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba from my old club Anderlecht I thought Newcastle would have a good season.”

This shows that the problems at Newcastle last season go deeper than a lack of quality within the squad. The two players that joined from Anderlecht have shown promise at Newcastle, but neither have pushed on to become first team regulars. They both decided to stay at the club, despite relegation, and they deserve credit for that. It is now up to them to establish themselves in the first team.

Featured image: All rights reserved by David Nelson

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