BLACKBURN Rovers today played down speculation linking Newcastle United with a multi-million pound swoop for David Dunn and Lucas Neill.

A story in one of yesterday's tabloid newspapers claimed Bobby Robson is planning to launch an £8 million raid for the Rovers duo when the transfer window opens up again in the summer.

But the powers-that-be at Ewood have been quick to dismiss suggestions of a double swoop as 'paper talk' as Graeme Souness focuses on preparing his squad for Saturday's clash with Arsenal.

"It's absolute nonsense," said Souness this morning.

"A year ago David's agent was trying to tout him around various clubs and I got a call from Gordon Milne, Newcastle's director of football, to say that they weren't interested in David and as far as I know that is still the case.

"My information is that a midfielder is not their priority at the moment."

Newcastle have been repeatedly linked with a move for Dunn in the past but an official bid from the Geordies has never materialised.

However, it's the first time Neill has been mentioned as a possible transfer target for United and although Souness is determined to hang onto the Australian international, he can understand why big clubs might be interested in signing him.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there was interest in Lucas Neill because he's done very well for us," said Souness.

"So I wouldn't blame anyone for fancying a move for him but he's one that I wouldn't want to let go."

Rovers first put their Premiership rivals on red alert about Dunn's possible availability when Souness admitted he would reluctantly listen to offers for the player back in January but they have yet to receive a firm bid.