Newcastle have ended their interest in West Ham full-back Lucas Neill after being told he is not for sale.
Manager Joe Kinnear revealed that the Magpies had made an enquiry about the 30-year-old Australian as they attempt to find cover for Habib Beye, who is facing at least another 10 weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
However, after initial contact was made, the Hammers have insisted Neill is not for sale, and Kinnear will now explore alternative targets.
A Newcastle spokesman said: "In looking to strengthen our squad, the club has been exploring a number of possibilities during the transfer window.
"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.''
West Ham released a statement on their own website which read: "West Ham 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 that a Premier League manager has claimed contact with one of our players.''
Tonight's development came at the end of an eventful two days for the Magpies, who slipped out of the FA Cup as the result of a 1-0 third round replay defeat by Hull at St James' Park.
Hours earlier, the club had tabled a £5 million bid for Rennes midfielder Stephane Mbai and a £4 million offer for a second player, understood to be St Etienne striker Bafetimbi Gomis.
In addition, traillist Peter Lovenkrands and two potential loan signings, one from Argentina and the other from Italy, will play in a behind-closed-doors practice match next Tuesday to give Kinnear a chance to see them in action at close hand.
The Magpies' need for reinforcements is acute. They prepared for the Hull game with 11 senior players on the injured list and included youngsters Tamas Kadar, Kazenga LuaLua, Ryan Donaldson and Nile Ranger among their substitutes.
Kinnear is not expecting to have any of the casualties available for Saturday's crucial Barclays Premier League trip to Blackburn, a game they simply cannot afford to lose if they are to steer clear of the relgation zone.
They currently lie in 11th place, but are only three points better off than Tottenham in 18th with three of their next four games coming away from St James'.