'I don't know anything' - Newcastle boss Benitez addresses Kenyon takeover bid

Rafael Benitez Newcastle United Championship
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Mike Ashley was in attendance at St James' Park for the 2-0 defeat to Leicester amid uncertainty over his future.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is unaware of any prospective takeover led by former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon.

On the day current owner Mike Ashley attended his first game at St James' Park since May 2017 - the 2-0 defeat to Leicester City - reports emerged over a possible buyout of the sportswear tycoon.

Sky Sports understand Kenyon, who is working on a bid with a New York-based investment firm Rockefeller Capital Management, has held preliminary talks with Ashley.

But Benitez is unconcerned by the reports and was only focusing on preparing his team for the Premier League game.

"I have not spoken to Mike Ashley today, but if he is around it is positive," he told BBC Sport

"We have to concentrate on things on the pitch.

"I don't know anything about a takeover, I just concentrate on the pitch."

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley put Newcastle up for sale last October, but despite talks with several interested parties was unable to find anyone wiling to match his £400 million valuation.

It is unclear whether Ashley's expectations have altered while it remains to be seen whether Kenyon can attract sufficient investment from Wall Street to make the deal a reality.

With substantial experience of the Premier League, Kenyon would represent a dependable figure and would take on a senior role of running Newcastle if a takeover was completed.

In the short term, Newcastle have begun the campaign with five defeats in their first seven games with goals from Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire enough to keep them in the Premier League bottom three.

"Obviously I am disappointed, we conceded two goals from set-pieces and didn't take our chances," Benitez added.

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"The second goal killed us mentally. Leicester were well organised and worked hard and they have some good players.

"When you concede it is always difficult for you. When things are not going in your favour you concede penalties like that.

"We have to manage the squad, we tried to be more offensive but we didn't take our chances and we were exposed in the second half. The team is working hard, you cannot complain about that.