JAMES PALLOTTA has refused to comment on the latest reports linking him with a possible takeover attempt at Newcastle United, although the Roma owner appears to be moving closer to a sale of the Serie A club that could pave the way for a move into the Premier League.

Pallotta, a US billionaire with interests in private investment, became the co-owner and chairman of Roma in 2011, but has spent the last 12 months discussing the sale of the Italian club.

He was close to selling to the Friedkin Group last December for a sum of around €800m, but talks collapsed when the two parties were unable to agree on the final terms of a deal.

However, discussions have resumed in the last month, and various Italian media outlets are reporting that is sale is close to being agreed for a new fee of around €600m, with Pallotta having agreed to a revised price in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Those same media organisations are suggesting that Pallotta could look to reinvest a proportion of the Roma sale price into the purchase of Newcastle, with a window of opportunity having suddenly opened in the wake of Amanda Staveley’s decision to withdraw her consortium’s £300m agreement with Mike Ashley.

In the past, Pallotta has distanced himself from speculation linking him with a possible move into English football, but interestingly, he has declined to comment on the latest suggestions that he could be poised to enter into negotiations with Ashley.

Unlike his fellow American, Henry Mauriss, whose reported interest in Newcastle remains shrouded in mystery amidst speculation over his ability to finance a bid, there is no uncertainty about Pallotta’s wealth.

The 62-year-old will have ready access to funds if the sale of Roma goes through, indeed he would have sufficient capital to buy out Ashley and still be able to invest in the kind of personnel and infrastructure improvements that Staveley’s Saudi-Arabia backed group were proposing if their takeover attempt had been successful.

While Staveley’s attempts to secure approval from the Premier League became bogged down in the governing body’s owners and directors’ test, a Pallotta-led bid would have no such problems. As well as owning Roma, the American is also the co-owner of NBA team Boston Celtics and esports franchise Fnatic.