HOPES of a swift resolution to the takeover situation at Newcastle United are receding fast, with Mike Ashley adopting a policy of ‘business as usual’ as thoughts begin to turn to the summer transfer window.

As revealed in The Northern Echo, Newcastle sent a senior scouting delegation to Griffin Park at the weekend to watch Brentford forward Said Benrahma in action against Middlesbrough.

The Algerian is one of a number of players currently being monitored, and with contractual discussions also ongoing with members of Steve Bruce’s first-team squad, Newcastle’s senior hierarchy are clearly operating as though they fully expect to still be in control come the end of the season.

That tallies with the noises that were coming out of Ashley’s camp when news initially broke of Amanda Staveley’s latest attempts to broker a buyout as the head of a consortium that also involves Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and brothers Simon and David Reuben.

Ashley has always been deeply sceptical about the likelihood of a serious offer emerging, and more than a fortnight after a bid was initially mooted in the US media, there is still no sign of a formal approach from Staveley’s group.

Indeed, sources in the Middle East claim the only talk of a sporting interest within royal circles in Saudi Arabia relates to an ongoing interest in Manchester United, which was the subject of a failed Saudi buyout attempt last year, rather than Newcastle.

Lee Charnley has been instructed to step up preparations for the summer, and Bruce has used Newcastle’s winter break to convene a number of meetings with members of his scouting and recruitment team.

Having been unable to complete any permanent transfers in January, the Magpies manager wants to ensure he is in a position where he can hit the ground running at the start of the summer. A permanent move for Danny Rose will be considered if the full-back impresses in the next three months.