FORMER Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has claimed he was approached by Newcastle United in the summer when they were searching for Rafa Benitez’s replacement.

It is a suggestion which has been strongly refuted at St James' Park.

The Dutchman insisted he could not consider that path to Tyneside as he had already agreed to take over at Feyenoord, where he is still in charge and they sit mid-table in the Eredivisie.

Newcastle had been considering their options after Benitez departed to take on a new challenge in China after his contract expired in June.

Stam insists he was contacted about the role but had to decline because he had already agreed a deal in March to become Feyenoord boss, leaving Newcastle to then turn to Steve Bruce.

“You have been informed, because it is correct,” Stam told Voetbal International. “Newcastle United contacted me a few days after I agreed to manage Feyenoord. So it was not an option right away.

“I am a man of my word. It was beautiful and honourable, because the people in England apparently know what I stand for as a coach.”

Stam has already had one stint in England as a manager at Reading but was unable to lead them back to the Premier League. He returned to Holland to take over at PEC Zwolle last year.

Feyenoord are currently tenth in Holland after taking 14 points from their first ten league games. Bruce is looking to lift Newcastle out of the relegation zone this weekend when they face Wolves on Sunday at St James’ Park.

Newcastle officials are adamant that they did not make such an approach, nor did anyone acting on the club's behalf.