The cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour has reportedly agreed to buy Premier League club Newcastle United.
Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan has struck a £350m deal with current owner Mike Ashley, the Sun reported on Sunday.
The pair have signed contracts and submitted the paperwork to the league, the paper said.
Representatives of Sheikh Khaled said on Sunday night the deal was “concluded” and that the prospective new owner is very keen to keep Rafael Benitez as manager of the club, the Daily Mail reported.
The tycoon’s associate told the paper the businessman expects to be in complete control in time to sign players in this summer’s transfer window, which opened on 16 May and closes on 8 August for Premier League clubs.
However, Sky Sports understands that, while talks have been held, there is “some way to go for any deal to be agreed”.
Mr Ashley has been involved in clandestine takeover talks with at least two interested parties for several weeks, but only on the basis of strict secrecy, The Telegraph reported.
Sheikh Khaled, the cousin of Manchester City owner and Arab billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, tried and failed to buy Liverpool for £2bn last year.
Liverpool confirmed meetings did take place in New York between chairman Tom Werner and Midhat Kidwai, the managing director of Sheikh Khaled’s conglomerate.
But the Press Association reported the offer “did not get past the vetting stage because it was deemed neither credible nor worthy of being put to the ownership.”
Mr Ashley first tried to offload Newcastle in 2008 and has subsequently put the club up for sale on two further occasions.
Sheikh Mansour showed interest in Newcastle back in 2008 but would eventually go on to buy Manchester City, transforming them into the best team in England.
Sheikh Khaled, an Emirati member of the family who govern Abu Dhabi, is the founder of Bin Zayed Group, a leading conglomerate with diverse business interests in the local and international markets.
Sky News approached Newcastle United, the Premier League and the Bin Zayed Group for comment but did not receive any responses.