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By ESPN Staff

Shepherd tries to quash Magpies transfer rumours

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has warned fans to disregard the whirlwind of speculation surrounding the club after they were linked with a move for David Beckham.

The Magpies have, for more than a decade, been touted as potential buyers for a bewildering list of superstars - some of whom have arrived at St James' Park.

However, many more have not, and with captain Alan Shearer having retired and the injured Michael Owen certain to spend most of next season on the sidelines, the rumour machine has once again slipped into overdrive.

Shepherd did little to quell the speculation this week when, although he played down talk of a move for Real Madrid and England star Beckham, he stopped short of flatly denying it.

But as he and manager Glenn Roeder set about the process of landing their summer targets, he insisted the wave of transfer stories had nothing to do with him.

Shepherd told the club's website: 'Once again Newcastle United is finding itself being linked with various players in the newspapers.

'But the club wishes to make it perfectly clear to supporters that all of this recent speculation has absolutely nothing to do with us and that it's out of our control.

'Throughout the close season we have seen ourselves supposedly having met or moved for certain players when there is nothing in it.

'Unfortunately speculation will always happen and there is little you can do about it.

'You could find yourself having to comment on speculation every day of the week. We are not prepared to do that and our fans should not pay too much attention to what's being written.'

Roeder sends out his side for the first time this season in the Intertoto Cup on Saturday as they attempt to book a place in the UEFA Cup, which he hopes will in turn help the club's recruitment drive.

'Being in Europe is attractive, especially to foreign players. It's a big thing,' said Roeder. 'Overseas players coming to a club like Newcastle would expect to be playing European football.

'I'm sure potential signings will be looking at our results and seeing if we progress into the UEFA Cup.

'The club itself and the support are quite often enough but it's an extra incentive to be playing in Europe.

'I'm excited about the new season and I'm excited about new players being brought in.

'It creates really healthy competition, and it's a huge motivation for the players.'