Parky Posted February 27, 2009 Share Posted February 27, 2009 NEWCASTLE United’s legal row with former manager Kevin Keegan could drag on for months and seriously disrupt the club’s summer transfer strategy. The Journal understands that, while there is a preliminary hearing between the two legal teams to discuss the case early next month, it is highly unlikely an agreement will be reached then. Both legal teams are adamant they have a strong case, which means the arguments could carry on for weeks, if not months, before a settlement is concluded with a number of hearings required before the matter is eventually passed on to a Premier League arbitration panel. United’s owner Mike Ashley is determined not to back down in the dispute as a matter of principle, while Keegan, who is unlikely to work in football again, would like to maximise the size of his compensation claim. Keegan is believed to be seeking as much as £9m after he sued the club for constructive dismissal following his controversial departure back in September. Newcastle, though, believe Keegan quit and have made a counter claim for breach of contract. That potentially has significant knock-on effects for the club’s finances. United would like to see the case settled as quickly as possible so they know if they are going to have to pay out any compensation and, if so, how much. That would allow the board to adjust their business plan accordingly, but if the case drags on, there is a chance it will force them to trim their transfer budget in the summer so that there is money set aside to cover the cost of any future settlement. United are due to receive around £16m from the sale of Shay Given, David Rozehnal, James Milner and Charles N’Zogbia in the summer, money which has already been earmarked for player recruitment. Ashley is also, according to managing director Derek Llambias, willing to put in as much as £15m of his own money each season, which would give Joe Kinnear – assuming he returns to work following a triple heart-bypass operation – around £30m to play with. That is a significant amount in the present financial climate, but Ashley is not willing to break with his business plan and increase his personal investment, so any compensation to Keegan would reduce that figure unless the matter is eventually settled in Newcastle’s favour at an arbitration hearing. Llambias said: “We tried to keep him – Mike insisted that we should keep him. We tried our best to keep him, but once someone crosses that line, it’s very difficult to get them back. Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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