Long-running takeover talks between Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley's Middle East investment fund PCP Capital Partners are now believed to have collapsed, but it appears that first-team boss Rafael Benitez is now at least finally aware of exactly what he is able to do in the current transfer window.
The two parties are said to have been in discussions since the divisive Ashley sought to end his tumultuous 10-year reign by putting the club up for sale in October with the hope of securing a deal before the New Year. Staveley - a financier who helped broker Sheikh Mansour's purchase of Manchester City in 2008 and was also reportedly previously involved in a Dubai-based bid to take over Liverpool - subsequently failing with an offer of £250m ($344.6m).
It was rumoured this week that a new and improved bid worth £300m would be submitted, only for a source close to Ashley to comment on Tuesday night (16 January), per the BBC, that the current owner was "unhappy with the approach and feels discussions have been a waste of time".
Sky Sports were told that there was "no deal on the table or even under discussion with Amanda Staveley and PCP", although another source said "PCP Capital Partners made a carefully considered bid in November" that remains on the table.
The lingering uncertainty surrounding such negotiations has had a frustrating effect on manager Benitez, who has consistently reiterated that he remains in the dark as to precisely what funds he has at his disposal to improve a shorthanded squad in preparation for a likely relegation scrap.
Last season's Championship winners, who face a daunting trip to runaway leaders Manchester City on Saturday [20 January], currently sit 15th in the Premier League and three points above the drop zone after Joselu's equaliser rescued a draw at home to rock-bottom Swansea City last weekend.
According to a report from the Press Association, Ashley has given the green light to Benitez making three new signings before the close of the January window, but there is apparently an understanding between the Spaniard - whose future is once again shrouded in doubt as a result of that takeover - and managing director Lee Charnley that money will be tight. Loans are now the most likely course of action.
Newcastle have long been linked with short-term moves for versatile Chelsea winger Kenedy and Liverpool striker Danny Ings, while they are also believed to be keen on a deal for Pape Souare, the left-back who has struggled to earn regular opportunities at Crystal Palace since recovering from a horrendous car accident that left him with a broken leg and jaw.
A new goalkeeper remains high on the list of priorities, meanwhile, with Benitez eager to reunite with former Anfield stalwart Pepe Reina having failed with a loan bid for Sparta Prague's Martin Dubravka.