A takeover bid for Newcastle United - led by businesswoman Amanda Staveley - can still succeed on two conditions
"My opinion is that it is dead until the end of the season," Downie told Sky Sports, "or at least until Newcastle's fate is sealed one way or another regarding which division they will be playing in next season. That's pretty much the reason it fell through in the first place.
The reputable journalist, who is Sky Sports' north-east correspondent, claims that Ashley wants to sell, but is not in a rush as the club are not losing money and Ashley's other companies are still reaping the benefits.
"I cannot see the sale going through unless she increases it. From Ashley's perspective, Newcastle are self-sufficient. He wants to sell, he has had enough of it after 10 years, but they are not losing money, so he is not in a rush. He still gets the free advertising for Sports Direct every time they play."
As takeover talks were ongoing earlier this season, Newcastle fans were excited about the prospect of their club spending money in the January transfer window. As the takeover didn't materialise, Downie thinks Newcastle did the bare minimum to try and secure Premier League survival in the January window.
"There's no doubt that the takeover had a massive impact on the January transfer window. Staveley promised she would spend money if she had taken over, but Ashley didn't want to spend a lot of money on something he might not own in four months' time.
"That's why they only ended up bringing in the three loan players. For Ashley, I think it was a case of doing just enough to stay in the Premier League. They brought some players who can help, but without going all out.
"Ashley did try to sign Nicolai Jorgensen from Feyenoord, but they were asking for around £25m and Newcastle's final bid was a long way short of that. So it was kind of a half-hearted attempt to sign him. It didn't really seem that realistic."