A report linking Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney with a summer transfer window move to Newcastle United - published on a website affiliated to Mike Ashley's SportsDirect company - has been retracted by its authors.
It was claimed on Wednesday that Newcastle had approached the representatives of Rooney with a view to a move at the end of the season, after it was revealed the 27-year-old had put in a transfer request with Manchester United.
SportsDirect have, however, have since acknowledged that the report had no basis of truth, and released the following statement apologising for their initial assertion:
"SportsDirect News wishes to express its sincere apologies to Wayne Rooney and Triple S Sports & Entertainment Group for publishing the article "Newcastle in shock Rooney bid", which was formulated and published without authority, merit and is untrue."
Rooney's future with Manchester United has been the subject of speculation after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the England international was left out of the game with Swansea last weekend after expressing a desire to leave Old Trafford.
Doubts over Rooney's longevity with Manchester United were initially raised after he was omitted from the side to face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash in March.
Ferguson, however, dismissed any claims that Rooney would be sold, and maintained the former Everton forward would sign a new contract with Manchester United.