Mauriss, who was linked with Newcastle before Mike Ashley relinquished control to a consortium headed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is said to be prepared to pay £115m for United although this has yet to be officially confirmed.
The Star has been told that the media tycoon, who runs California based media company ClearTV, is not the only person to have made contact with United’s hierarchy in recent months. Although they are not commenting publicly on the situation, senior figures working at the Championship side last night claimed a group from the Middle Eastern kingdom, where Prince Abdullah once served as Minister for Sport, held provisional talks about providing financial support as Paul Heckingbottom’s team chases an immediate return to the Premier League following last season’s relegation.
Ashley has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Prince Abdullah should he decide to relinquish control, although his public relations advisors have yet to respond to a request to clarify their client’s position.
No update has been provided about whether negotiations with the Saudis, who were not believed to be acting in a governmental capacity, remain ongoing or if they resulted in an outline proposal being made.
United have risen from 16th to sixth in the table since Heckingbottom’s appointment in November.
After beating Cardiff City last weekend, they are preparing for Friday’s visit to Queens Park Rangers - their penultimate match of the regular campaign - ranked sixth in the table; three points ahead of seventh placed Blackburn Rovers.
Heckingbottom, who could start Billy Sharp in west London after United’s captain and leading goalscorer confirmed his recovery from injury against City, has admitted he wants the “focus to remain on football” as his squad chases top six qualification.
Rangers, in 10th, are six points behind United but with a vastly inferior goal difference.