MIKE ASHLEY has called off negotiations with Henry Mauriss and the Bellagraph Nova Group – and is resigned to remaining in charge of Newcastle United for the whole of next season.

Ashley remains keen to sell up, but with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners group seemingly unwilling to reignite their failed takeover bid, the Sports Direct boss has accepted his attempts to secure a £300m sale this summer have failed.

Unlike in previous years, he will not be taking Newcastle off the market, but he is understood to be frustrated at the lack of progress in the last few weeks from groups who purported to be serious about buying him out.

The Paris-based Bellagraph Nova Group made a series of bullish noises in the wake of Staveley’s consortium withdrawing their offer, and lodged papers indicating a willingness to pay £280m.

However, their approach has not got beyond Ashley’s legal team, with the Newcastle owner adamant he will not engage in serious takeover discussions without a cast-iron proof of funds and a non-refundable deposit.

Staveley’s consortium paid £17m in order to secure a period of exclusivity, but despite publicising their initial interest almost a month ago, the Bellagraph Nova Group, who claim to have consulted Alan Shearer on their takeover bid, have not made a similar offer. As a result, senior sources on Tyneside suggest their dealings, which have also involved a tie-up with former Newcastle striker Michael Chopra, are little more than a publicity stunt.

Mauriss’ interest pre-dates the collapse of Staveley’s bid, with the American boss of Clear TV having made a verbal offer of £350m. Mauriss’ bid team have paid a series of legal fees, and established a channel of communication with Ashley via his associates, Justin Barnes and Chris Ronnie. However, there has been no progress in the last few weeks and Ashley’s team do not regard a deal as likely.

As a result, Ashley has instructed Lee Charnley to plan for the status quo remaining in place throughout the current transfer window, which runs until mid-October, and is working to a budgetary plan that envisages him remaining in control for the whole of next season.

Newcastle’s transfer kitty was swelled this morning as the club netted around £3m from Ivan Toney’s £10m move from Peterborough United to Brentford. The Magpies inserted a 30 per cent sell-on clause into the contract that saw Toney join Peterborough for around £450,000 in 2018.

Steve Bruce continues to pursue a range of transfer targets, with Arsenal centre-half Rob Holding, Greek full-back Dimitris Giannoulis and Bournemouth midfielder Ryan Fraser uppermost in his thoughts.

Conor Gallagher had been a leading target, but the Chelsea youngster is set to join Crystal Palace on a season-long loan.