Vagit Alekperov, quoted by one survey as the 48th richest person in the world, has expressed an interest in becoming the new owner of Birmingham City.
The Russian oil billionaire, who made it into Forbes Magazine's Top 50 wealthiest people, has made an inquiry about taking over at St Andrew's if and when the existing shareholders choose to sell.
The news comes at a pivotal juncture in the immediate future of the club with just three days to go before Carson Yeung's ill-fated takeover attempt is finally put out of its misery.
All the signs suggest Yeung will be unable to meet the December 21 deadline set by David Sullivan and the Gold brothers who are now destined to remain in charge until the end of the season.
But beyond then a buyout remains a possibility and the emergence of a purchaser of Alekperov's means will inspire more confidence in the boardroom and in the stands than Yeung's efforts ever did.
The 57-year-old is the president of Russia's biggest oil company Lukoil - which boasts the world's second largest reserves - and is reported to have assets of around £8 billion.
Importantly he is London-based and has more of a background in football than Yeung ever has. Should a deal go ahead the communication problems that hampered the most recent attempt will not be a factor. Indeed it is not the first time Alekperov has emerged as a potential bidder for Birmingham.
His name first cropped up around a year ago when his interest in purchasing Tottenham Hotspur was reduced by an asking price of £400 million.
With Birmingham then in the Championship but likely to win promotion they represented better value for money. At a cost of around £50 million they still do.
Alekperov's close friend and Lukoil vice-president Leonid Fedun already owns Spartak Moscow in their homeland, where the pair also have banking and media interests.
But Alekperov, who is Lukoil's second largest shareholder behind US company Conoco Phillips, would prefer to own a club in England. His representative's have already sounded out City's financial advisers Seymour Pierce, who did not comment last night, and he is now considering firming up his interest in the Premier League club following Yeung's apparent failure.
Though the Hong Kong businessman remains City's largest shareholder after buying 29.9 per cent in July, there seems no way he will be able to raise the £35 million balance to complete the deal.
He has told associates he cannot meet Birmingham's deadline so joint majority shareholders Sullivan and David and Ralph Gold plan to stay in charge and could even buy back Yeung's third share.
Much of that depends on Sullivan, though. David Gold has always described himself as an unwilling vendor and he must persuade his long-term business partner to recommit himself to Birmingham after making several public pronouncements that he wants to sever ties with the club he bought 14 years ago.
On the pitch Liam Ridgewell will be suspended for this weekend's trip to Bolton Wanderers after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season.
The Blues skipper was booked in Saturday's 1-1 draw and his place at Reebok Stadium could either go to Johan Djourou, if he recovers from a pelvic problem, or Radhi Jaidi, who made the first team squad for the first time in more than two months against Reading.