Mike Ashley is prepared to sell a stake in Newcastle United.
A Chinese consortium is believed to be open to making an investment in United after their return to the Premier League.
Newcastle were not commenting on takeover speculation last night, but Ashley is open to a deal.
Rafa Benitez is in the dark over any takeover and will hope that such speculation will not delay his summer transfer plans.
He has already seen a loan deal for Tammy Abraham fail to go through so far.
Ashley has spent £262million on Newcastle, buying it for £133m and loaning £129m in his 10 years in charge.
He would want more that that figure to sell it.
Ashley’s regime could stay involved if a stake could be sold to raise money for investment in players and the club.
Benitez will hope that significant funds will still be available to him this summer after Ashley promised every penny of the extra Premier League cash to spend.
Last year Ashley made a £33m loan to the club to help deal with the effects of relegation.
Many Premier League clubs have had inquiries about investment from China, and any deal would appear to be some way off at the moment.
Buckinghamshire-born Ashley made his fortune founding sports merchandise store Sports Direct – with the company making a £279m profit in 2016.
Ashley also boasts an 8.92 per cent stake in Scottish Premiership giants Rangers.
He has previously said: “We are now definitely going to win something and, by the way, I shan’t be selling until we do.
“[I won’t be selling] at any price. And by the way, when I say win something, if we ever get in a position of a Champions League place, that counts as winning something.”
The Magpies were promoted back to the top flight last season as Champions after a season in the Championship.
Boss Rafa Benitez beat Brighton to the title by just a point as they strolled back into the Premier League.