Mike Ashley is the secret figure behind a deal to build £900m worth of luxury flats and townhouses in Chelsea.

The Times are reporting that a deal was done on Friday night to buy the prize development site from John Lewis.

The newspaper exclusive says that the Newcastle United owner is the mystery figure behind Citygrove and McLaren Properties, who paid John Lewis £160m for the land and also a £40m payment for the relocation of nearby Marlborough primary school.

There will be seven townhouses and 62 flats built on the former storage depot land, which already has planning permission for the development, with the total value when built estimated to be worth around £900m, when completed.

The Times also report that the funding is understood to have come from MASH Holdings which is where all of Mike Ashley’s shareholdings are held, including his ownership of Newcastle United.

In his drive to become the richest person in the UK, Mike Ashley is clearly intent on diversifying ever further and last week his MASH Holdings announced profits of £542m in their latest financial figures.

The irony won’t be lost on many Newcastle fans, with the football club’s place in Mike Ashley’s empire is to create profit and provide free promotion for all of his brands.

Massive profits that one of the poorest areas of the country is helping to drive, being spent on property speculation in one of the most affluent areas of the UK.

While some fans will be feeding the ducks in Leazes Park, it will be interesting to see if Mike Ashley turns up today to see his shambles of a club play against what is alleged to be the team he supports, in a stadium with potentially thousands of missing season ticket holders, all in front of the TV cameras.

Only at Newcastle United.