Newcastle interim manager Joe Kinnear has slammed widespread reports in the media that Michael Owen will be moving to Chelsea in January.
A number of UK newspapers suggested on Friday that the 28-year-old Newcastle striker might move to West London for £5 million, with Chelsea looking to bring in some cut-price cover up front, after the Blues' number-one target, Sevilla's Luis Fabiano, was found to be a prohibitively expensive £25 million.
But Kinnear has fiercely denied claims of an Owen move, and urged Magpies bosses to agree a new contract with the striker. Should they fail to do so, Owen, whose deal runs out at the end of this season, would be able to leave Newcastle on a free transfer in the summer.
The Magpies may yet cash in on Owen in January while they still can, but Kinnear claims that no such move has been discussed.
"I have spoken to Michael about it today and he is bewildered himself as to where the stuff comes from. He just doesn't know," said Kinnear.
"Of course we want to keep our best players - and I have made that known to Michael."