David Beckham's representatives insist the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder has "absolutely no plans to play in Australia" despite an insistence from Down Under that the former England captain has been in preliminary talks with A-League clubs.
Beckham signed a new two-year contract with the Galaxy in January but has previously had two loan spells with AC Milan in Major League Soccer off-seasons. And Football Federation Australia (FFA) released a statement in which it said it had been approached by the Beckham camp with a view to the player spending a short stint in the A-League.
A Beckham spokesman was quick to refute the claim, however, describing it as "rubbish" before adding in a statement: "There is always enormous interest from clubs across the world in signing David as a player. There are absolutely no plans to play in Australia, David is completely focused on the MLS play offs and winning another Championship with the Galaxy."
That stance contradicts the signals emanating from Australia. The FFA statement read: "The approach from David Beckham's people is another sign of how much the Hyundai A-League has grown in stature on a global basis.
"Beckham is a superstar on the world stage and he would be another massive signing for the Hyundai A-League after the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono. But this approach remains at a very preliminary stage."
FFA chief executive David Gallop also told reporters in Australia: "It's wonderful that David Beckham is thinking about the A-League as a potential destination. Beckham is a superstar on the world stage and Australian audiences have loved his visits here with the LA Galaxy.
"He would be another massive signing for the A-League after the arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono. There are many hoops to jump through and I must stress this approach remains at a very preliminary stage."
Perth Glory have already stated an interest in Beckham and Lyall Gormal, executive chairman of new A-League franchise Western Sydney Wanderers, said the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star would have obvious commercial appeal.
He told Sky Sports News: "We haven't had formal or informal contact over this, but clearly we are aware of the iconic vale of David Beckham.
"Beckham is outstanding. We've seen him here before on a couple of occasions. There was an 80,000 sell-out at the Olympic Stadium and he was here with the Galaxy the year before last for a game against the Newcastle Jets. He would be a fantastic commodity to bring to Australia."