A consortium fronted by financier Amanda Staveley, and funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is in advanced talks over a £340million takeover of the Premier League club.
Talks between the two parties have been going on for four months – and are expected to reach a conclusion this week.
There is still work to be done, and the next 48 hours will be critical, according to sources close to the proposed deal. Owner Mike Ashley expects it to succeed – or fail – in that time. The would-be buyers are optimistic a deal can be done.
Ashley, unhappy that details of the talks leaked out last weekend, last summer said that he saw himself owning the club “forever” – as there were “no offers” on the table.
“I think I could own this football club forever – that’s my new mental state," said Ashley. “The reality is with these deals that once it gets out, if it's not done, it's probably not going to get done.
“The day someone buys Newcastle, they'll do their due diligence – and finished. It will happen like Manchester City.
“By the time the media find out, it's already complete. There's no need for a delay with Newcastle. It’s, honestly, a very well-run football club.
“The last bid, the one from UAE ... he's a prince and he's got £38billion or £100billion, all these numbers – well, why would you even care what you're paying then? What difference would £10million either way make?
“You would want speed, you would want certainty, you would want the keys and to get on with it.”
Meanwhile, head coach Steve Bruce – who hopes to sign a left-back before Friday night’s transfer deadline – was asked about the takeover talks after Saturday’s goalless draw against Oxford United at St James's Park in the FA Cup.
“I think I’ve got enough worries of my own on the football side without having to worry about those stories,” said Bruce.
Newcastle, 14th in the Premier League, take on Norwich City at St James’s Park on Saturday.