STEVE BRUCE does not want talk of a Saudi takeover to distract from Newcastle United’s ambitions to make more signings before the transfer window closes on Friday night.

The Magpies head coach is pushing for a new full-back and striker before the deadline and is trying his best to carry on as normal despite the claims that Mike Ashley is close to selling.

While Newcastle have not commented on news that Saudi Public Investment Fund, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wants to take over at St James’ Park, it is understood Ashley is also in discussions with other interest parties.

While a £340m Saudi offer to buy Newcastle remains on the table, Bruce wants attempts to add to his squad to continue knowing that he will not be able to strengthen beyond the 11pm deadline on January 31.

Newcastle have already secured the services of Nabil Bentaleb and Valentino Lazaro on loan from Schalke and Inter Milan respectively, but he knows that at the very least he could do with a different striker and wide defender.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is someone Bruce would love to welcome to Tyneside and he wants Newcastle to keep a close eye on a proposed move to Inter which has been in danger of collapse given the length of time it has taken.

Giroud, in a deal that would be a Premier League loan, would provide the extra bit of quality and experience to challenge and compete with Joelinton to lead the line, with Andy Carroll and Dwight Gayle being troubled with injuries.

The defensive problems have forced Bruce into a bit of a rethink in terms of who else he would like to sign before the window closes. There could still be departures, although there remains a reluctance from interested clubs to match what players earn at Newcastle.

Nimes have knocked back the chance to sign Henri Saivet while Gayle, who is a high earner at Newcastle, remains at the club for now because of his salary and the size of fee being demanded at Newcastle.

Bruce knows things could soon change across the board if the Crown Prince, who is the heir to the throne of the Saudi Royal Family, is successful in his drive to complete a takeover.

Such a deal is being brokered by Amanda Staveley with financial support from the Reuben Brothers and sources close to them insist they would like things wrapped up within days.

But others close to Ashley, who is now back at his desk after a short break, claim his representatives have also had detailed discussions with two other unnamed parties interested in taking over at St James'.

He wants his valuation met and in the he is known to have wanted around the £400m mark when former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, the Bin Zayden Group and Staveley's PLP Group have held formal discussions with Ashley over the last few years.

Also, Amnesty International's response to news of the latest Staveley-led approach has added further complexities to a long-running saga.

Amnesty's UK head of campaigns Felix Jakens branded the reported move "sportswashing" and an attempt to deflect attention from Saudi Arabia's "abysmal" human rights record - a political issue which might come into play if and when Premier League approval were to be sought.

Newcastle are back in Premier League action this weekend when Norwich City will be the first team to visit Tyneside after the window has closed.

Last week Bruce's men left at packed St James' largely frustrated after failing to see off League One's Oxford United at the first attempt in the FA Cup fourth round tie.

The BBC have now confirmed that the replay at the Kassam Stadium has now been selected for live TV coverage.

Kick-off will now be at 8.05pm on Tuesday, February 4 and Newcastle fans have been allocated 1,800 tickets.

Tickets are on sale to season ticket holders with 40 or more away points.