Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley is closing in on the sale of the club, after talks with Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE billionaire’s investment group

The group, which failed with a £2bn bid for Liverpool FC last year, has outlined its hopes for the deal to concluded “at the earliest opportunity”.

Issuing a statement on the possible acquisition, the group stated: “We can confirm the representatives of his Highness Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan are in discussions with Mike Ashley and his team about the proposed acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club.

“We view it as an honour to have the opportunity to build on the strong support, history and tradition of the club.”

Having taken over the club in 2007 in a  £134.4 million deal, Ashley has been largely criticised by Toon supporters, who have argued more money should have been invested back into the club. Ashley has actively attempted to sell the club, on numerous occasions.

Most recently, reported interest in the club came from former Manchester United and Chelsea Chief Executive, Peter Kenyon, prior to that it was financer, Amanda Staveley, this current deal already appears further along the line than either of those two however.

Nonetheless, with former Champions League winning Manager, Rafael Benítez at the helm the club finished 13th in the Premier League last time out.

The Spanish Manager is however reportedly looking for assurances over the future of the club, before he pens a new deal at St James Park, according to The Times. Benitez’s influence has been seen as pivotal to Newcastle’s success in recent years, with the manager working on a tight budget to keep Newcastle in the top flight.

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