Speculation is circulating that JD Sports Fashion is planning to gatecrash a £42.5m takeover of five-a-side football chain Powerleague, where rival retailer Sports Direct’s acting chairman Simon Bentley is a director.

Powerleague, Britain’s biggest operator of five-a-side football centres, has already agreed to a takeover by its biggest share-holder, Patron Capital, and shareholders will vote on the acquisition next month.

Analysts have suggested that if JD Sports does buy Powerleague the retailer would put its stores into the football centres. Broker Numis said: “As with gym/shop combination sites, we think such a rationale would have merit.

“However, with a recommended bid from a 29% shareholder in place, we view the likelihood of a competing offer from JD as low.”

Numis instead suggested JD Sports would be more likely to collaborate with 43-site Powerleague to open stores on sites or to buy a strategic stake. JD declined to comment.