Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was today awaiting further developments as potential buyers edged closer to striking a deal for the club. Last night's news that the Malaysian consortium which visited the club last week had made a return visit, this time with one of the bigger players in tow, suggested the sale process is gathering pace. The identities of the men involved remains a closely-guarded secret, although there was fresh speculation today that billionaire Ananda Krishnan, one of the wealthiest men in south-east Asia, could be involved. But whoever is behind the move to buy the club, Malaysian sports minister Datur Ahmad Shabery Cheek believes a successful conclusion to the ongoing negotiations could only be good for his country. He said: ``We should be proud if it really happens that a Malaysian is involved in such a huge transaction. ``It's not impossible and I hope it goes through. It can have a big impact on the development of Malaysian football.'' The clandestine nature of the sale, which is being conducted by investment bank Seymour Pierce, means it is not known which of the parties to have expressed an interest in the Magpies are among those who have met Ashley's asking price of STG£100million.