The Toon Army will take Ashley's words with an Everest-sized amount of salt, with many viewing Ashley's "attempts" to sell Newcastle past year as simply being a ploy to detract from his poor running of the club and to prevent him from spending in the January transfer window.
"I'd like it to be before the January transfer window", he said.
Speaking to Sky News, the owner of sports-goods retailer Sports Direct stated that he remains hopeful that a deal to relinquish control of the club could be reached by the end of 2018.
Ashley nearly sold the club last season to businesswoman Amanda Staveley but the deal fell through.
Ashley bought former owner Sir John Hall's 41.6 per cent stake in the club back in 2007.
And having been reportedly close to selling up in the past, Ashley revealed in a Sky News interview earlier today that his exit could finally be on the cards, with talks of a potential sale already at an advanced stage.
"[Is that] Realistic? It's possible".
The businessman's update on the sale process are likely to be welcomed by many fans, though there may also be raised eyebrows over his talk of recent good form.
"Hopefully we can carry on the recent good form and get someone in".
"Realistic? Hmmm. Possible. Realistic is possibly too strong a word".
After taking just three points from their opening ten games, Benitez's side have improved recently, winning three successive games before West Ham eased past them at St James' Park.
During that period, the club have been relegated from the Premier League twice and fans have voiced their anger at Ashley's unwillingness to spend in the transfer market.