Facing a host of injury woes and having just been eliminated from the FA Cup, Newcastle United is searching for help in the transfer window.
One of their targets is said to be Australian International and current West Ham United captain Lucas Neill. The 30-year-old right back may convert to center at Newcastle, whose bid appears to be in the four to five million pound range.
Perhaps Neill is considering the move to play with his fellow countryman Mark Viduka, or potentially he is simply looking for a new contract.
Neill was targeted specifically by Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear, who is looking for defensive support for Newcastle's upcoming fixtures with Blackburn, Man City, West Brom and Tyne-Wear derby with Sunderland. Kinnear was quoted as saying: “We have spoke to him, we are waiting to hear what the answer is from West Ham."
Not so fast say the Hammers. From an official statement put out by the club today:
"West Ham United would like to make it clear that Lucas Neill is a contracted West Ham United player and that we have received no approach from any club for his services including Newcastle United."
"We are astonished by reports today that a Premier League manager has claimed contact with one of our contracted players."
Personally, I think Neill has performed admirably in his stay at Upton Park, and it would be unfortunate to see him leave. This move would also go against Gianfranco Zola's wish to keep all his key players, even though I'm sure our Icelandic owner could use an extra five mil in his pocket.
UPDATE FROM PREMIERLEAGUE.COM
"With regards to Lucas Neill, West Ham United have made it clear he is a player they value as a highly important member of their squad and who they have no desire to sell. Newcastle United respect West Ham's position and will therefore not be pursing this matter."