MILLIONAIRE Rainford based racehorse magnate and Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash is being linked with buying struggling Australian rugby league club Newcastle Knights.

The former Palestinian refugee, who came to live in St Helens in the late 70s, confirmed on Twitter that tentative talks have taken place.

The 55-year-old tweeted: "I would confirm that there has been some contact with an NRL team but it is very early days.”

Koukash, who bought Salford in 2013, added: “My absolute focus remains on the Red Devils."

Former Wigan and Newcastle stand off Matthew Johns is reported to have told his Australian radio show that Koukash was "absolutely desperate" to buy Newcastle.

Koukash has strong links to St Helens, and is reported to have enjoyed a ‘rags to riches’ story having come from the Middle East in 1977 to studying A-levels at St Helens Technical College, living in the Sherdley Park area.

He went on to further his studies in Liverpool, but retained a base in St Helens and later moved to Rainford with his wife Mandy and their children.

He is owner of global executive training company EuroMaTech as well as hotels and has a huge stable of racehorses.