In what can only be described as an atmosphere so tense you could cut it with a blowtorch at the Old Trafford press room this afternoon, Sir Alex Ferguson issued the following statement:
'Ladies and gentlemen, we have been hearing reports that alleged hard bastard and notorious Neasden gangster, Arthur Pewty, has been having covert discussions with Cristiano Ronaldo in an attempt to poach him from the club, with the ultimate objective of having him play for Manchester City or Real Madrid.
'These alleged talks took place in the Neasden branch of Jock Donald's.
'I've spoken to the lad and he denies that any such discussions took place. Further, he says he's never even heard of Neasden or Arthur Pewty.
'We have no reason to doubt the veracity of our Ronny's statement.
'But if this Arthur Pewty character should get any ideas in this direction he should think again. Remember what happened to the Coolmore mafia. Arthur Pewty is in no way unreachable. If you get my drift.'
Arthur Pewty was unavailable for comment.