Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has dismissed reports claiming striker Albert Luque is set for a return to Spain.

The 27-year-old striker joined Newcastle for £9.5m from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer but has only made a handful of appearances after suffering a hamstring injury at the start of the campaign.

“These stories are just rubbish,” Shepherd told Newcastle’s website.

“I don’t know where people get the idea from that we’d consider selling a player we worked so hard to sign only four months ago.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid have both been linked with a move for Luque in January.

But Shepherd insisted Luque is going nowhere.

“Why on earth would we do that? Albert has only been here a short time and the best is still to come from him in a black-and-white shirt,” added Shepherd.

“He is regarded as one of the best players in Spain and we think he will be a big player for us, so these stories are ludicrous.”

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