MIKE ASHLEY will continue to maintain a dialogue with Amanda Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium in the hope of resurrecting the sale of Newcastle United – but the Magpies owner has told Lee Charnley to complete preparations for next season in the expectation that he will still be in control.

Ashley and his associate, Justin Barnes, are understood to have held a number of telephone conversations with Staveley’s team in the wake of last month’s announcement that PCP Capital Partners were ending their attempt to buy Newcastle.

With neither side blaming the other for the collapse, relations remain cordial, indeed Staveley has been at pains to stress that Ashley was not responsible for her group’s decision to drop out.

Both parties are aware of the mounting pressure on the Premier League to make a public statement about the collapse of the takeover process, with a series of initiatives having gained considerable traction over the last week or so.

More than 40 MPs have joined the Independent Football Ombudsman in writing to the Premier League to urge the governing body to make a public comment on why their owners and directors’ test remained incomplete after more than four months of investigation, while the Prime Minister has also backed calls for a public update. As of yesterday, more than 106,000 people had signed a petition demanding an independent investigation.

Both Ashley and Staveley are hoping the pressure will force the Premier League to abandon their current stance of silence, although repeated calls to the governing body, including from The Northern Echo, have failed to result in a change of approach.

Given that Staveley’s group withdrew their £300m offer before a decision on the owners and directors’ test was released, the Premier League may feel it is not their responsibility to comment on the events that led to the collapse of talks. As there is still the possibility of the bid being resurrected, the Premier League board will also not want to jeopardise any future discussions.

However, the political pressure could prove hard to ignore, with Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery suggesting he is willing to raise the matter in Parliament via either an adjournment debate in the House of Commons or a sitting of the DCMS select committee.

That will take time though, and with the new Premier League season due to begin on September 12, Ashley’s message to Charnley and Steve Bruce is that preparations for the new campaign must be conducted in anticipation of the status quo continuing for a fair bit longer yet.

Newcastle are still to make their first summer signing, although talks with midfielder Jeff Henrick are at an advanced stage. Hendrick is a free agent after his previous contract at Burnley expired.