Newcastle United are reportedly subject to interest from a Chinese consortium as those within St James' Park start to allude to the fact that owner Mike Ashley is starting the process of a long-drawn-out farewell to the club.
Ashley's ownership of the club has not always been smooth and after looking for possible investors in the summer following their promotion back to the Premier League, suspicions have continued to run rife as to the future ownership of the club.
According to Mark Douglas from Chronicle Live, a consortium from China has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Newcastle as they look to offer an enticing package which will encourage Ashley to cut ties with the club.
The agreement is said to ensure things remain on the down-low, but the interest in such a takeover could follow the model used by West Brom or Southampton, which is a targeted investment in the transfer market and infrastructure to ensure Newcastle grows.
However, when Ashley is involved it seems anything but straightforward as history tells us his terms often prove to be a turn-off for potential buyers or investors, and as such the offer to walk away would need to be worth his while as he won't relinquish control easily.
The exchanging of ownership leads to uncertainty but with the club looking to push their way back to the top of the Premier League rankings a change could be what is needed for Newcastle, and Ashley's cost cutting during the summer transfer window now makes more sense in hindsight.