NEWCASTLE UNITED were this evening refusing to comment on reports that Mike Ashley has agreed to sell Newcastle United to an Arab sheikh for £350m.

A story in tomorrow's Sun newspaper suggests that Ashley has agreed a deal with Dubai-based billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan, the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour.

The report claims that contracts have already been signed and submitted to the Premier League.

However, Newcastle's spokespeople have refused to comment on the story this evening after being contacted by The Northern Echo.

In the past, they have knocked down stories suggesting that a takeover was close, so it remains to be seen whether there is any substance to the latest stories.

Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is a senior member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, and has previously failed in an attempted £2m takeover of Liverpool.

It has been suggested that if his takeover attempts on Tyneside are successful, he will prioritise retaining Rafael Benitez as Newcastle's manager.

Ashley has been looking to sell Newcastle for some time, but previous takeover attempts led by Amanda Staveley and Peter Kenyon have failed.

The Sports Direct boss has consistently set his asking price for the Magpies between £300-400m.