MIKE ASHLEY will pursue alternative options for selling Newcastle United if the Premier League prevents Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners group from completing their proposed takeover.

Staveley’s consortium, which boasts the financial backing of the Saudi Arabian state’s Public Investment Fund, agreed a £300m deal with Ashley in April, but both parties are still awaiting a decision from the Premier League over whether the sale can take place.

Despite beginning their owners and directors’ test more than two months ago, Premier League officials are still understood to be some way off delivering a final verdict.

Both camps remain optimistic the deal will be given the green light, but as well as assessing concerns over Saudi Araba’s human rights record, the Premier League has also been weighing up accusations of TV rights piracy levelled at the Saudi regime.

The World Trade Organisation has been conducting an investigation into the Saudi Arabian government’s links to the beoutQ pirate television service which has been illegally streaming coverage of Premier League matches, and is due to publish its findings later this month.

If the WTO concludes the Saudi state has been directly involved in the illegal broadcasting of matches, the Premier League will have to decide whether it is willing to allow senior government figures to assume an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle.

Sources close to the takeover discussions insist both parties are continuing to operate as though they expect the Premier League to approve the proposed deal.

However, alternative options exist and Ashley remains determined to sell up no matter what the Premier League rules in relation to Staveley’s bid.

There have been expressions of interest from two different US-based groups, and while Ashley is currently unable to negotiate with either party directly because of exclusivity deals that have been signed with Staveley and her representatives, that situation would change if the Premier League ruled against the current arrangements.

In that scenario, Ashley would immediately turn his attention elsewhere in an attempt to broker a new deal that would still enable him to relinquish his ownership of the Magpies before the start of next season.

American businessman Henry Mauriss is known to be spearheading one of the groups that are ready to step into the void if Staveley’s consortium is forced to admit defeat.

Mauriss, who is the chairman and chief executive of ClearTV, a media company specialising in the delivery of television services to airports and hospitals, is keen to emulate Fenway Sports Group, the current owners of Liverpool, by branching out from the US business market into the Premier League.

He formed a UK company with Companies House last month, and while the extent of his personal wealth remains difficult to gauge, he is reportedly ready to match Staveley’s £300m offer for Newcastle if given the opportunity to do so.

Ashley and his associate, Justin Barnes, are aware of Mauriss’ interest, and are also understood to have had indirect contact with another US group interested in making an offer for the Magpies if Staveley’s period of exclusivity comes to an end.

The identity of this group’s backers remains unknown, but it is regarded as a serious proposition that would be worth pursuing if the Premier League was to block any takeover involving Saudi Arabian financial support.

For the time being, the situation remains in a state of limbo, with the uncertainty impacting Newcastle’s day-to-day operations in a number of different areas.

The Magpies are now the only Premier League club not to have refunded season-ticket holders who will be unable to attend the remaining matches due to take place this season, which will now take place behind-closed-doors.

Newcastle, who beat Middlesbrough in a training game yesterday, return to action against Sheffield United a week on Sunday.