The Guardian says the Welshman is understood to be strongly tempted by the Newcastle job and is believed already to have been sounded out by an intermediary. Indeed, it seems that Ashley considered making the Blackburn manager his first choice before opting for Redknapp, who rebuffed Newcastle on Saturday.
Blackburn's chairman, John Williams, who categorically denied that he had discussed a potential compensation package with Newcastle for the manager, said: "We have not received any approach from Newcastle United for Mark Hughes. He is doing a great job here and we obviously want to keep him. We are chasing a Champions League place so why would he want to leave?"
Although Newcastle have been led to believe Hughes would say yes, they also claim to have received calls from representatives of several managers working both in the Premier League and abroad.
Kevin Gallacher, a former Newcastle and Blackburn striker, believes Ashley should make a swift move for Hughes. "Mark was a star as a player and he commands respect in the dressing room and knows what being at a big club is about. He won't be fazed by Newcastle one bit."