Martin O'Neill has denied reports that out of contract Newcastle striker Michael Owen has been offered a two-year deal by Aston Villa.
O'Neill is known to be an admirer of the England striker despite the 29-year-old having been hit by a succession of injuries in recent years.
But the Villa manager, who is currently on holiday, has played down suggestions that the club have already made an offer to the former Liverpool and Real Madrid star.
Villa issued a statement on their official website which reads: "Martin O'Neill has dismissed stories suggesting Villa have offered Michael Owen a two-year contract.
"O'Neill has hit back after newspaper reports suggested the club were ready to hand the England striker almost £3m per season - with a further 12 month option dependent on injuries and goals."
Owen is set to reduce his wage demands after commanding a six figure salary at St James' Park.
But Villa would have to make him their highest paid player ahead of the likes of Ashley Young and Gareth Barry - before his move to Manchester City - to have a chance of signing Owen.
Owen finished as Newcastle's leading scorer last season with 10 goals but his absence for lengthy periods was a key factor in them being relegated from the Barclays Premier League as they missed his predatory instincts in front of goal.