Wayne Rooney has been linked with a shock move to Newcastle - by a sports news agency owned by Magpies owner Mike Ashley.
The 'exclusive' story about the Manchester United striker appears on Sports Direct News, a subsidiary of Sports Direct, the sporting goods retailer owned by Ashley.
The report claims that Newcastle "have already sounded out Rooney’s agent over a potential move".
It goes on to quote a source 'close to the negotiations' as saying: “Newcastle see Wayne as their ideal player.
“He’s a strong centre-forward, would relate to the fans and would be a massive boost to the club’s brand name.
“Low-level conversations have already been held between Newcastle and Rooney’s agent, though the two clubs haven’t spoken directly yet.”
Little stock has been put in the story with users on Twitter suggesting it is a cynical ploy to drive people to the Sports Direct website.
It comes amid fierce speculation over the future of Rooney which was sparked by the revelation that the striker had asked for a transfer request, a development confirmed by Sir Alex Ferguson after the manager's final game at Old Trafford at the weekend.
There is a chance the England international will remain at Old Trafford, particularly with the arrival of a new manager at Manchester United.
Were he to leave though, his options are limited. Few clubs would be able to afford Rooney's £250,000-a-week wages and with Bayern Munich ruling out a move, it's considered that only Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG, Barcelona or Real Madrid could meet his demands.
However, if there is any truth in today's report, Newcastle could be added to that list. The Magpies have a history of transfer scalps, in particular Michael Owen's return to England from Real Madrid and the capture of Alan Shearer from Blackburn Rovers at a time when Manchester United also wanted to sign the centre-forward.
Independent News Service