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Friday, January 2, 2009
Given hints at Newcastle exit

Soccernet staff

Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given is set to become the centre of a transfer tug of war after his lawyer revealed his client is fed up with the turmoil at St James' Park and wants out.

Given, who has spent the past 11 years at the Premier League club, reached the "lowest point of his football career" during last weekend's 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool and is now ready to move on.

The 32-year-old's lawyer, Michael Kennedy, said: "Shay is very despondent following the very poor performance of the team against Liverpool last weekend."

"It was the lowest point of his football career and a performance that he would not wish to be repeated.

"When he signed a new five-year contract in 2006 it was on the basis that the club would challenge for major honours, but on the present evidence all that he can see ahead with the turmoil on and off the pitch is a battle for survival.

"Having served the club loyally for over 11 years, Shay feels compelled to consider his position in the light of the interest being expressed in him by Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham."

Newcastle have some strength in the goalkeeping position, with Given's long-term deputy Steve Harper currently in discussions over a new contract, but manager Joe Kinnear said on Friday that his No.1 is going nowhere.

"I'm not sure of the facts that he [Kennedy] has said that or how it's been interpreted, but what I will say is Shay is contracted until 2011," Kinnear said. "He is our player and he is going to stay our player, it's as simple as that."

"He is an integral part of the team, he is the best goalkeeper by miles in the league, so why should we jeopardise our chances in the position we are in?"

Kinnear continued: "As far as I am concerned, I am going to keep every single player that we have got that I think can contribute to us staying in the Premier League. I am not going to weaken my chances.2

Given has made 459 appearances for the Magpies since joining from Blackburn Rovers for 1.5 million in 1997.

The Newcastle team has become increasingly unsettled this season with a number of players' contracts due to expire in the summer, including star striker Michael Owen, and the club's off-field dramas took another twist when owner Mike Ashley took the club off the market this week after failing to attract a buyer.

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