Indian billionaire Anil Ambani is "deadly serious" about buying out Newcastle United.
Ambani is said to be worth £21 billion.
"Ambani has twice as much money as [Roman] Abramovich and his intentions are deadly serious," a source close to the proposed deal told The Daily Telegraph.
"His people will put a set of proposals to Ashley and if they don't like them they will say 'that's it' and turn their attention elsewhere. They won't be messed about."
It is understood clubs with large fanbases have attracted interest from Ambani, so ailing Yorkshire clubs Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday would appeal to the Bombay-based magnate, as well as Everton.
"They see Newcastle as a massive club with vast potential," the source said. "They know they already attract 50,000-plus crowds and wonder what would happen if they get back into the Champions League. But they also see India as an untapped market as well."