IRANIAN businessman Sirous Mahjoob became the latest person to claim he was poised to buy Newcastle United yesterday, but doubts exist over the authenticity of an unknown figure who sources close to the takeover process have been keen to downplay.

Mahjoob, who appears to be based in the United Arab Emirates, claimed he was mounting a bid to buy out Mike Ashley in an attempt to “help Iranian football”.

Tellingly, Mahjoob has yet to provide proof that he has at least £100m of funding at his disposal.

Had Mahjoob entered into talks, he would have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement barring him from speaking to the press.

That he has been keen to publicly confirm his interest in the last 24 hours suggests there could be an element of self-promotion in his actions.

At present there are believed to be at least two groups still involved in talks with brokers Seymour Pierce.

Mahjoob went on the record yesterday, claiming his bid to take control of the Magpies could lead to an era of footballing co-operation between England and Iran.

“My purpose in buying Newcastle is to help Iranian football,” said Mahjoob, in an interview distributed by Iranian news agency ILNA.

“Without any question my love and passion for my country has made me want to create a bridge and a good relationship between Iranian football and British football.

With this, I could be part of making Iranian football grow.”

Having initially talked of re-appointing Kevin Keegan, Mahjoob also claimed he would be bringing former Iranian striker Ali Daei to Tyneside as a coach.

The ongoing takeover talk continues to overshadow Newcastle’s preparations for the new campaign, but defender Steven Taylor claims the club’s players are adopting a “siege mentality” following last season’s relegation to the Championship.

With their own futures uncertain until a buyer is found, Taylor claims his team-mates have formed a tightly-knit unit that has closeted itself off from outside influences.

“We haven’t got a clue what’s happening, but as players we’re just getting on with it,” said Taylor. “It’s like us against the world at the minute but that could work in our favour.

“There’s a massive siege mentality within the dressing room. We know we’re there to be shot at at the moment, but we’re pulling together.”

■ Obafemi Martins is expected to confirm a 9 million euros move to Wolfsburg, and a number of other Newcastle players are expected to leave before the transfer window closes on September 1.