Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has four groups keen to discuss a takeover.
The Evening Chronicle says a consortium represented by former chairman Freddy Shepherd is believed to have staged meetings with investment bankers Seymour Pierce yesterday.
The group headed by the former United chairman are currently combing the club's finances, in a period known as 'due diligence'.
But it is believed they will face hefty competition from an as yet unknown wealthy South African businessman.
Also in the frame is Steve McMahon's Profitable Group and an Omani consortium, Sultan Oabood bin Said who is reported to be worth around £1.1bn is said to be involved in the potential offer.