Kevin Keegan has met with the head of the South African consortium bidding to take over at Newcastle United.
Keegan's decision to walk out on the Magpies last month led to furious protests from fans and caused owner Mike Ashley to put the club up for sale.
Now Johnathan Cleland, the Scotland-based businessman who is leading the South African approach, confirmed he held talks with Keegan over a possible return to St James' Park in a Manchester hotel on Monday.
Cleland told the Evening Chronicle: "My meeting with Kevin went very well.
"I am hugely impressed with him and I got the sense there is a good chemistry between us and there is a strong mutual interest in working together.
"He is our preferred option, but we can't make any concrete decisions on the management position until negotiations on our planned takeover are further advanced.
"I think he understands and supports our concept of developing the club organically."
Cleland's comments came as the group he leads stepped up their attempts to secure control of the North East outfit.
He revealed his consortium is "80 per cent confident" of managing to push through a deal as up to eight prospective buyers jockey for position.
Clelland added: "I am a businessman who happens to be a supporter and the club and the fans deserve better and we are hoping to achieve that.
"What we have to do is get the fans to come out and support the club in the coming games in the number and in particular to support the interim manager, who has such a challenge ahead of him.
"I would say we are at least 80 per cent confident of this working. We are cautiously optimistic but we are not arrogant."