Graham Hunter has hinted that Real Madrid's spat with a leading Spanish newspaper may have been manipulated by Jose Mourinho.
Madrid-based Marca last week ran a front-page story suggesting that captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos had issued an ultimatum demanding the removal of the coach in the summer.
Real president Florentino Perez then called a press conference to deny that the manager's job had been discussed at their meeting and the club may now launch legal action against the newspaper, which continues to stand by its story.
However, Spain-based journalist Hunter says several players are likely to leave if Mourinho is retained, even if it wasn't discussed at the meeting in question, and he feels that the former Chelsea boss may have helped to leak the story.
"The most Machiavellian man at that table - and that's saying something - [director general] Jose Angel Sanchez is Mourinho's biggest backer.
"Around Spain there are theorists who say this has suited Mourinho very well indeed. Wouldn't it be a coincidence if actually Mourinho, via his ways and means, has flushed this out.
"The one thing that I think is really important - mole or no mole - is what was represented about the players and Mourinho is generally true.
"The large group of them do feel like that about him."
Former Real Madrid coach John Toshack was also in the Revista bar this week and suggested it's the team's poor league performances - rather than the opinions of the players - that is likely to see the boss lose his job this summer.
But he agreed that people close to Mourinho may have been behind last week's controversial headlines.
"There's no smoke without fire. I'm pretty sure there's something in it," Toshack said.
"But you have to say that Madrid are 15 points behind Barcelona. I don't ever remember any Real Madrid coach still being in a job when you're 15 points adrift of Barcelona."