Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has denied reports linking Ruud van Nistelrooy with a move to Real Madrid in a swap for Michael Owen.

Reports in Spain claim that United had approached Real about a possible swap deal involving van Nistelrooy and Owen.

But Ferguson has dismissed the rumours, claiming he has no intention of selling the Dutch striker.

“The unfortunate part about this job is that you have to deny or refute something every week because we are big news,” said Ferguson.

“The idea that we would tout the best forward in Europe around is such rubbish it’s hardly worth commenting on.

“The truth is we are not touting Ruud, we have not been touting Ruud and there is no chance of us touting him in the future.”

Ferguson also clarified remarks he made earlier which implied that he favoured Roy Keane to succeed him him at Old Trafford.

“It’s nonsense. I wouldn’t presume to have the authority to make these decisions,” added Ferguson.

“What I said – as I have always said – is that Roy Keane has got the potential to be a manager if that is what he wanted to be.

“He is taking his badges and it all seems quite straightforward.

“But as usual everything has been spun out of all proportion. These were comments made eight weeks ago.

“He is our captain and he plays – that is his job.”