About that left-back...Newcastle United insiders were confident the latest takeover saga on Tyneside would not affect Steve Bruce's attempts to do business but even if there is to be a late dash in the final days of the January transfer window, fans' minds will be elsewhere.

The focus, naturally, has been on what happens next with the club's ownership situation. Those on the buyer's side, who are familiar with the discussions Amanda Staveley previously had in 2017, feel it is 'more likely' to happen this time around but stressed 'everything is up in the air at the moment'.

It has perhaps been telling that the noises have been more positive from the buyer's side while, in contrast, claims the deal was close were deemed 'b*******' by the other earlier this week.

One thing is for certain, though: Staveley and partner Mehrdad Ghodoussi are keen to come to the top table, the Premier League, and invest in 'live content'.

As private equity investors who have dealt in mining, affordable housing and litigation funding, and previously avoided auctions with the major players, they want to enter a world where clubs can trade at four or five times the revenue they generate.

You then need to secure serious backing to take a club on from there - investing in infrastructure such as the academy and training ground - while still operating under the restrictions of financial fair play in the transfer market. PCP Partners would also look to put money into the local community.

It has been quite revealing that Staveley has not ultimately pursued options elsewhere - another club or league - and has returned more than two years after her previous interest ended in her being widely ridiculed as a time waster.

As ChronicleLive previously revealed, as far back as April, PCP Capital Partners were seeing how things developed on Tyneside 'over the course of the next few months'.

Staveley and Ghodoussi share a 'great admiration' for the club and the fans, and that has been at the heart of their latest attempt to buy the club.

But questions remain. While this would not be a Man City style operation, Staveley has always believed clubs should be owned by individuals with deep pockets or sovereigns who are willing to invest heavily.

As such, Staveley is attempting to broker a takeover with the help of the Reuben brothers and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It is worth noting that Staveley and Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF), were present at the Milken Institute Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Summit in Abu Dhabi last year but, to some, the complicated make-up of the consortium does not necessarily add up.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mike Ashley and Amanda Staveley

As part of Saudi Arabia's 2030 vision, the country intends to 'become a global investment powerhouse' to 'stimulate our economy and diversify our revenues'.

An observer with knowledge of the situation in Saudi Arabia believes buying the Magpies, a European football club, would go against the government's policy and strategy up until now - even if Prince Mohammed has previously done things differently to how his family and the government would have liked.

The same source believes it could yet be an individual or a small group of investors who are ultimately involved rather than the state, itself.

But what about Mike Ashley? Just last summer, the Newcastle owner admitted he could see himself owning the club forever and while he has little to do with the day to day running of the Magpies, Ashley found himself energised in meetings about transfer targets in July and January.

Ashley's mantra that 'once it gets out, if it's not done, it's probably not going to get done' can be overplayed - the Newcastle owner was guilty of going on Sky himself in December, 2018 -  but he was certainly not happy that Staveley's interest again leaked out.

The billionaire has always maintained that he will sell to a group who will take the club forward but for a man who has made his name for acquisitions rather than disposals, this could yet be his biggest test if a bid materialises.

For players and staff at the club it as business as usual - a lot of them have experienced this intense speculation before - and minds are focused on an important game against Norwich City on Saturday.

One player's representative said it is very much a case of 'let's see'. Most on Tyneside share that view.