MIKE ASHLEY will allow Henry Mauriss to buy Newcastle United for the same terms he agreed with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners group, but is still waiting for the American to provide proof of funds and pay a non-refundable deposit to enable him to progress to the next stage of the purchasing process.

Ashley, who is understood to be in Miami, spent the weekend assessing the fall-out from the dramatic events that saw Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed consortium withdraw their offer for Newcastle on Thursday afternoon.

It has been suggested the Saudi Public Investment Fund will now switch their attention to Italy and attempt to buy AC Milan, but even if that does not happen, there appears little realistic prospect of them rekindling their interest in the Magpies.

Attention has subsequently switched to Mauriss, the American owner of Clear TV, who has signalled his intention to table a formal offer via Ashley’s associate Justin Barnes.

Mauriss’ camp insist the 56-year-old has the funds needed to mount a successful takeover attempt, even though there is no public account of his wealth or business ownership portfolio.

Having been led down a series of blind alleys in the past, Ashley is adamant he does not want to become embroiled in another public saga with no realistic prospect of a successful resolution. As a result, he will demand a deposit payment before Mauriss is able to progress his interest to a formal process of due diligence. Staveley’s group paid a deposit of £17m before submitting documents to the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Leeds United are the latest club to have been linked with Matty Longstaff, who is a free agent after a short-term extension to his Newcastle contract expired. Longstaff’s representatives have spoken to Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Atalanta in the last few weeks.