Reading winger Jimmy Kebe poked fun at Newcastle United's growing French contingent on Thursday by joking on Twitter that he had agreed to join the club.
"On my way to Newcastle, having medical then sign a 4 years contract. Thank you all for your support you've been outstanding !!!!" he wrote.
The tweet was picked up by several British media outlets, only for Kebe to reveal the hoax in a second message posted 14 minutes later.
"Oups i thought if you're french and play football u just pop in to Newcastle and sign a contract ?? Not a chance of leaving #LoveReadingFc#" he said.
Kebe, 29, was born in France but has represented Mali at international level. He joined Reading from French club Lens in 2008.
His Reading team-mate Danny Guthrie expressed shock at the joke, tweeting: "Just read @jkebe tweet and s(expletive) myself!! Don't do that again".
Newcastle have signed three French players in the January transfer window -- Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Yoan Gouffran.
Their arrivals have swelled the number of Frenchmen in manager Alan Pardew's squad to eight, along with several Francophone players.
Newcastle are also reportedly working on deals to sign two more French players in the shape of Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko and Nancy left-back Massadio Haidara.