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Ashley wants to sell Newcastle before January

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley said Monday he is planning on selling the club, by the end of December, after more than a decade of ownership.

Speaking on Sky News, Ashley said he was hopeful a deal could be concluded before the end of the year.

"I'd like it to be before the January transfer window. Not (in) exclusive (talks) but talks are at a more progressive stage than they have ever been," he said.

"I'm very keen to sell it to the right buyer and everybody's happy, that would be good news."

The 53-year-old Londoner has proved a divisive figure during his tenure, which has seen Newcastle twice relegated from the Premier League and then immediately promoted back.

"I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that can please everybody," Ashley said.

Sportswear magnate Ashley announced he wanted to sell the club last October after more than 10 years in charge, having paid £134.4 million to buy Newcastle in 2007.

Ashley ended takeover talks with English businesswomen Amanda Staveley for the Magpies in January 2017 after she placed a £300 million ($397 million, 338 million euros) bid for the club.

The northeast outfit regularly attract crowds of more than 50,000, but their supporters have been long suffering.

Although Newcastle's last trophy was the Championship title last year, they last won the first division title in 1927 and claimed the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the precursor to the UEFA Cup) in 1969.

Newcastle sit in 15th place in the table having won only three of their opening 14 league games this season and are managed by former Champions League-winning coach Rafael Benitez.

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