Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov is understood to be monitoring the Newcastle United takeover situation.
The Gazette has learned that Prokhorov is looking to invest in the lucrative English Premier League, and has kept a keen eye on developments on Tyneside for some time, with eyes on making a move for the club.
Prokhorov is the current owner of NBA basketball side the Brooklyn Nets, who he bought in December 2015.
His estimated worth is £7billion, placing him inside the top 150 richest people on the planet, according to Forbes.
Despite completing the takeover of the US side less than two years ago he is looking to sell and the 52-year-old is keen to dip his toe into the Premier League market.
The New York Post reported last month that Prokhorov, unable to sell a minority stake in the money-losing NBA franchise, plans to off-load a controlling stake in the team.
In a deal similarly proposed by Mike Ashley at NUFC, Prokhorov is hoping to sell the Nets in a two-part process, with some cash paid up front and the rest at an agreed later date.
The Post also claim Prokhorov values the Nets at around $2 billion.
As yet, though, it is not known if there has been any contact between Newcastle and representatives of the precious metals magnate.
United was officially put up for sale on Monday evening by St James Holdings, a company owned by Ashley.
The statement read: "To give the club the best possible opportunity of securing the positioning and investment necessary to take it to the next level, at what is an important time in its history, its present ownership has determined that it is in the best interests of Newcastle United and its fans for the club to be put up for sale.
"To give an incoming owner the maximum possible flexibility to make meaningful investment in the club, including in its playing squad, the sale process will give interested parties the opportunity of deferring substantial payments."
Meanwhile, Yildiz Holding, chaired by Turkish billionaire Murat Ulker, have distanced themselves from a move for United.
Reports in London emerged yesterday that the McVitie's owner would enter the race to purchase the Magpies, with a bid of £220million being prepared and a pot of £60million ready to be handed to manager Rafa Benitez for use in the January window.
But a spokesman for the company, speaking to Press Association Sport, poured cold water on the idea of buying United from Ashley.
He said: "The company is not purchasing Newcastle United Football Club and no discussions about the team have taken place. We wish them the best of luck in finding a new owner."