A photoshopped image was doing the rounds on Twitter, claiming United had signed Borussia Dortmund's in-demand Polish striker.
It featured made-up quotes from United boss David Moyes and the player, plus a fake byline for a contributor to United’s website.
Renowned bookmakers Paddy Power fell for the stunt though, and even went so far as to accuse United of publishing the article in error before removing it from their website.
"Manchester United website confirm Robert Lewandowski signing before taking it down immediately," Paddy Power tweeted, without checking their sources.
We immediately felt it was a fake as there were no paragraph breaks, while the striker’s full name was not mentioned until the third opportunity – both signs that it was not constructed by a professional. Additionally, the byline says "Round up by Mark Froggatt", when it is not a round up but a single story.
Check for yourselves whether you think the 'article' looks remotely credible:
The journalist whose name was attached to the 'article', Mark Froggatt, angrily denied the story, saying on Twitter:
"There's a forged "Reds confirm Lewandowski capture" image doing the rounds on Twitter. It's the work of wasters, please ignore it."
Predictably Paddy Power were called out on their naivety, later apologising to the club and journalist over the tweet.
"Sorry guys – Lewandowski story is a fake. Haven’t been fooled like that since I took that Israeli Eurovision winner home in 1998 #oops."
Which, we think you’ll agree, is far more amusing than the original 'prank'.
The bookies could be forgiven for the error as there have been similar incidents in recent weeks, such as when the Premier League website jumped the gun on Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea.
Mourinho later joined the Blues, and with Dortmund insisting Lewandowski will not be allowed to join Bayern Munich this summer, the Pole could well end up at Old Trafford anyway.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Robert Lewandowski
- Paddy Power
- Manchester United
- Borussia Dortmund