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S Africans in Keegan link as Newcastle bid nears

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Oct 2008

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Jonathan Cleland, the businessman heading a South African consortium that is considering buying Newcastle, has revealed that he has talked to Kevin Keegan about returning to the club as manager.

Keegan’s departure from St James’ Park at the start of last month triggered a revolt among fans that resulted in current owner Mike Ashley putting the club up for sale.

Negotiations with Cleland’s consortium are reportedly at an advanced stage and the businessman confirmed that he had held talks with Keegan this week and been encouraged by what he said.

“My meeting with Kevin went very well,” Cleland told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle on Friday.

“I am hugely impressed with him and I got the sense there is a good chemistry between us and there is a strong mutual interest in working together.

“He is our preferred option, but we can’t make any concrete decisions on the management position until negotiations on our planned takeover are further advanced.

“I think he understands and supports our concept of developing the club organically.”

Cleland said he was “80 percent” confident of finalising the purchase of the club. It emerged last week that Ashley, who was initially hoping to generate over 400 million pounds from the sale, would accept a figure of around 300 million.

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