A DEAL to sell Newcastle United is making progress – with the intended buyers looking to complete the deal as quick as possible.

Representatives of Sheikh Khaled have "agreed terms" for the purchase of Newcastle and "are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity", a spokesman for the Dubai-based Bin Zayed Group has said.

News broke on Sunday evening that Mike Ashley was in talks with the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour.

And while the club refused to comment directly at the time, senior sources at St James’ Park have now confirmed the authenticity of the statement issued this afternoon.

Ashley has long been looking to offload the club and it is understood his £350m asking price has been met, with the new owners intending to keep Rafa Benitez in charge.

A statement from the Bin Zayed Group, of which Sheikh Khaled is chairman, said: "We can confirm that 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.

"We have agreed terms and are working hard to complete the transaction at the earliest opportunity."