Steve Bruce says it is a 'load of rubbish' that a deal is already agreed for Jordan Henderson to leave Sunderland, but acknowledged he will never say the midfielder is not for sale.
Henderson has emerged as one of the brightest young talents in the Premier League over the past 18 months and has regularly been linked with the division's biggest clubs.
Reports have claimed that Manchester City have already lined up a deal for the England cap, but Bruce is adamant there is nothing in the pipeline.
However, having seen North East rivals Newcastle sell star striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool on deadline day and the Black Cats lose Darren Bent to Aston Villa earlier in the transfer window, Bruce acknowledged that every player has his price.
He said: "I am not going to sit here like [Newcastle boss] Alan Pardew and say he [Henderson] is definitely not for sale and have it chronicled on February 5, 2011, 'He's not for sale, he's not for sale and I have got the owner's backing'.
"I have said all along that every player, whether you are [Cristiano] Ronaldo or you are Wayne Rooney, you have your price.
"As managers, we manage the team, of course we do, we have an input with the people who employ us, but we all know that it's part of football.
"For me, the great thing with Jordan is his father and Jordan himself are level-headed enough to realise and they understand that the worst thing that could happen to Jordan is he goes for big, huge money and he doesn't play for 18 months and sits on the bench.
"Jordan is sensible enough and I will stress to you again, he is from Sunderland and he understands. But there will be a time when he goes, unfortunately. But in the meantime, no."
Bruce added: "I think he has lived with the speculation, I think he finds it difficult that he is always being questioned.
"There was a rumour circulating yesterday that there is a deal done and he has already gone. That's a load of rubbish.
"The fact is the boy is 20 years old and we must remember that. There have been times, probably, when he could have benefited from a rest.
"But with the injury situation we have had I have found that increasingly difficult to do."
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