it is unlikely that any UK museum will make a bid, not least because they would rely on funding for the acquisition and this would probably not be forthcoming given the concerns of the MA.
But if the buyer is from abroad, will they be able to export it? Given the associations with Castle Ashby this is unlikely. Remember the Northampton amphora that resided in storage after the Castle Ashby Vase auction in the mid 1980s.
And as the MA has concerns, there is unlikely to be Matched funding from a UK museum.
So the outcome could be that the new buyer will have spent a substantial sum for an object that may not be able to leave the UK in the immediate future.
and Northampton Museum and Art Gallery could find itself unable to apply for national funding for the development that was the reason why they deaccessioned the statue.