The disharmony that follows Craig Bellamy wherever he goes set two of the Premiership's most respected clubs against each other last night when Aston Villa claimed they had agreed a fee for the controversial Welshman while Newcastle United denied any such arrangement existed.
In an unusually bold move Villa announced yesterday afternoon that their chairman Doug Ellis and his North- east counterpart, Freddy Shepherd, had agreed on a double deal for Bellamy and his team-mate Aaron Hughes.
But within hours of Ellis making the shock revelation the St James' Park club countered that suggestion with an outright denial and even stated that nothing would be done about the striker's future until he had ended his loan deal with Celtic.
However, Villa and United, mindful of the other's stance, last night reiterated their own viewpoints, further muddying waters that are always cloudy when Bellamy is involved.
When it comes to transfers Ellis is known as a cautious businessman and it must have been with a good deal of confidence when he said: "I have spoken with Freddy Shepherd, the Newcastle chairman, on several occasions in the last 48 hours and last night [Monday] he accepted our cash offer for both players."
But that could not be further from Newcastle's understanding which was outlined by a club spokesman who rejected the notion that anything had been finalised.
He said: "Despite reports to the contrary, Newcastle United have not agreed any fees with Aston Villa over the sale of Craig Bellamy and Aaron Hughes.
"News broke saying the pair were close to completing a move to Villa Park but Newcastle confirm this report is incorrect and say no fees have been agreed with any club."
Villa's biggest difficulty could be the fact that Bellamy's current team, Celtic, with whom he has been on loan for four months, are understood to be keen in extending the 25-year-old's stay.
Indeed, having already paid Graeme Souness #1 million for his services they have first refusal on a player that has become the heartbeat of their side in the 13 matches in which he has appeared.
Bellamy has scored nine times in that spell, including the decisive goal in the Glasgow derby - a strike that looks as though it will help Celtic towards the title.
Their manager Martin O'Neill has become increasingly strident in his conviction that he wants to sign the former Coventry forward. He has put pressure on the Celtic board to find the money to expedite a deal.
Celtic are understood to be doing everything they can to find the #5 million they would need to make him their player, including a preferential share offer.
It is not the first time that Bellamy's future has been the subject of confusion. During the last transfer window Birmingham City chairman David Gold was sure that he had brought the player on loan until the end of the season.
At the last minute, after Birmingham had announced the deal, Bellamy joined O'Neill - a decision which has left a bitter taste at the club.
Despite a reputation as a troublemaker, Bellamy is one of the most feared strikers in the Premiership with his lightning pace and eye for the spectacular. Following a #6 million move from Coventry the Cardiff-born attacker developed a potent partnership with Alan Shearer until the New Year. A difficult relationship with his manager was permanently damaged in December when he refused to play in midfield and feigned an injury for the Magpies' match against Arsenal.
Souness was apoplectic at his antics and publicly criticised Bellamy only for the player to accuse his manager of lying over his exclusion against the Gunners. Souness vowed he would never play for Newcastle again.
Meanwhile, Hughes, with a much lower profile, would be a welcome addition for Villa, given the versatility he has shown in over 250 appearances for Newcastle.
The 25-year-old established himself in the Northern Ireland squad at the age of 18 and has won 40 caps and captained his country. The two deals are not thought to be linked and Hughes, having endured a frustrating season in the North-east, is the much more likely to move.