Mike Ashley hopes to sell Newcastle before the January transfer window opens after revealing ongoing talks are at a "more progressed stage" than they have ever been.

The controversial sportswear magnate stunned supporters protesting over his running of the club on Monday when he announced in an interview with Sky News that he is hopeful of finally offloading the club he put up for sale for the third time in October last year.

Ashley said: "I am hopeful for the Newcastle fans, for the club, for everybody, that I will be able to step aside and we will be able to get an owner in that will please everybody.

"I'd like it to be before the January transfer window."

Asked whether that was a realistic proposition, he added that it was "possible", but that realistic was "maybe too strong a word".

Ashley, who did not name the interested party, added: "Hopefully we can carry on the good form - just recent good form - and we can get the deal done.

"Talks are at a more progressed stage than they've ever been."