Darren Bent claims that any prospective new owners of Newcastle United need at least £5billion of financial backing to fulfil their ambitions.

The former Tottenham and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, insists there can be “no muddy waters” surrounding a takeover bid.

The Telegraph report that Mike Ashley is in negotiations with American tycoon Henry Mauriss and that while more work needs to be done on a potential deal, talks have been speeding up since the start of July.

The newspaper states that, despite the lack of public knowledge about the media boss, the prospective owner has a “well-financed and well-planned project” for the Magpies.

A consortium backed by Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund pulled out of their bid to buy the club after an “unforeseeably prolonged process”.

Bent believes that any investors need a ten-figure sum behind them to meet their and the club’s ambition and goals in the Premier League.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Bent told Football Insider: “You need to know, you need a clear background – this has been the issue here in this area, everything needs to be crystal clear so there’s no delaying, there’s no muddy waters where you’re like: ‘Er, what’s happening here?’

“It needs to be made clear but it’ll be interesting to see how much money he’s got because I’m a firm believer that if you want to push right to the very top, your owner’s got to be coming in with at least £5billion. 

“That there, there’s real, real investment. If you look at what Manchester City did, they’ve not just developed their squad and their stadium, the outside areas of where Manchester City’s stadium is, the infrastructure around the place – these things are crucial.”

Newcastle have been under the stewardship of Mike Ashley since 2007 in what has been a tumultuous 13 years on Tyneside.

The club have suffered two relegations and a host of controversial decisions during the Sports Direct supremo’s time at St James’ Park.

In other Newcastle United news, Football Insider pundit has been left raging after what Ashley reportedly did in takeover talks.

PLUS: Subscribe for free to our brilliant new YouTube channel for daily videos, interviews with our top pundits and special guests, and all the latest insight into the club you love.