Mike Ashley has put Newcastle up for sale and wants a deal done quickly. Who could step in and meet his reported asking price of £380m?
A number of interested parties have signed non-disclosure agreements keeping their identities secret for now. Here are the potential suitors we do know about:
Staveley, whose appearance at St. James' Park a fortnight ago made headlines, is a well-known financier whose Dubai-based PCP Capital Partners manages a wealth portfolio £28bn. She brokered Manchester City's £210m takeover by Sheikh Mansour and came close to negotiating a similar deal for Liverpool. Unlike several other parties, Staveley is not believed to have signed an NDA.
Turkey's richest man, Murat Ulker, who has a net worth of £2.8bn according to Forbes, has been negotiating with Ashley via advisers throughout the year, the Evening Standard has reported.
The biscuits tycoon's Yildiz Holdings company owns brands such as McVitie's and Jaffa Cakes. He is believed to be ready to back Rafa Benitez in the transfer market.
Update: A Yildiz Holding spokesperson has denied reports linking Ulker to Newcastle: “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. Furthermore, Tom McLoughlin is not working on behalf of, or representing the Ulker family in this or any other matter.”
Chinese money has flooded into English football in recent seasons with Wolves, West Brom, Southampton, Man City and Aston Villa either receiving significant investment or full takeovers from Chinese businessmen.
Those with their ear to the ground in the country believe significant interest remains in further takeovers, yet current Communist Party restrictions on outward investment have halted some recent acquisitions. Those restrictions could be lifted at China's five-year conference which takes place tomorrow.