Newcastle United's supposed takeover could be funded by vast wealth from the Middle East, according to one leading sports business expert.
Professor Simon Chadwick, who is a co-director of the Centre for Sports Business and who works at Salford University, explained via his Twitter account why Magpies fans should expect their club to be bought with money from either Saudi Arabia or Dubai.
Newcastle have reportedly signed five non-disclosure agreements with a variety of interested parties, according to the Shields Gazette newspaper, as Mike Ashley looks to finall sell the Premier League club.
Newcastle Utd: suspect main buyer will either be Saudi Arabian or from Dubai. Tyneside part of ongoing GCC struggle & soft power stand-off?— Prof Simon Chadwick (@Prof_Chadwick) October 31, 2017
The early frontrunner - businesswoman Amanda Staveley and her firm PCP Capital Partners - have plenty of connections with Middle Eastern investors and it is this fact that has Chadwick expecting the north east side to be awash with cash from either Saudi Arabia or Dubai in the near future.
Another potential new buyer could come from growing interest in European football from China, but Chadwick does not believe that those in the Far East will manage to beat Staveley et al. to securing the keys to Newcastle United from Ashley.
He said: "China deal always unlikely. Middle East more likely source of buyer."
Manager Rafael Benitez is set to be the major beneficiary of any likely takeover, with the Spaniard expected to be handed a transfer warchest in the January transfer window to significantly bolster his first-team squad.
Claims of a kitty worth an eye watering £500m have been touted, but it remains to be seen whether that amount of cash will be immediately available to Benitez or if it will be stretched out over two or three windows.
Ashley officially put Newcastle up for sale on 16th October after initially stating his desire to part ways with the Magpies in the New Year.
The Sports Direct owner has become a maligned figure with Newcastle's fanbase due to his broken promises over transfer funds for a number of the club's managers, and his name was dragged through the mud earlier this year over reports of terrible working conditions for the majority of Spors Direct's workforce.