A takeover of Newcastle United by financier Amanda Staveley could be completed by the end of the year, according to a report in the Middle East.
Outlet Arab News claim that a source close to the Yorkshire-born businesswoman told them interest was at an early stage and her interest extended to a number of other English Premier League clubs.
But, interestingly, the report also claims that Staveley was hopeful any deal could be completed swiftly, "possibly by the end of the year".
The report states: "Amanda Staveley, the financial entrepreneur who made her name in Middle East investment, could use Arabian Gulf money in a possible takeover of English football club Newcastle United.
"She is said to be interested in the club in the northeast of England, believing it shares similar characteristics to Manchester City, which she helped Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the UAE buy in 2008 for £210 million ($278 million), and which has since risen to the top of the English Premier League (EPL), helped by a big injection of Gulf cash."
It continues: "A source close to Staveley told Arab News that her interest in Newcastle was at an early stage, that there had been no talks yet with Mike Ashley, the current owner, and that she was still interested in other clubs in the EPL.
"But it was also indicated that a deal could be done relatively quickly, if serious talks got underway, possibly by the end of the year."
Staveley was in the stands for Newcastle's 1-1 home draw with Liverpool on Sunday, sparking takeover talk.
She then reportedly met with manager Rafa Benitez as well as making contact with Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley's close confidant Justin Barnes and PR guru Keith Bishop.
The Arab News report also claims that Staveley would be the lead investor in any potential Premier League deal, unlike when she worked as a broker for Manchester City and Sheikh Mansour.
"Like Manchester City, Newcastle is a traditionally strong footballing brand in a city that is enthusiastic about the game," the report continues.
"Unlike the City deal, however, in which Staveley acted as an adviser to Sheikh Mansour, she would be the principal investor in Newcastle, via her firm PCP Capital Partners. Any bid would be backed by funds from her extensive network of contacts in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.
"Globally PCP has $37 billion of assets under management, with Staveley acting for big Gulf investors in London real estate and other assets, as well as for wealthy Chinese investors.
"The identity of Middle East investors to help fund Staveley’s possible bid is not yet known. She has extensive connections in the UAE and Qatar, and has also been looking increasingly at Saudi Arabia, where she said she saw big investment opportunities on the back of the Vision 2030 transformation strategy."