Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford has handed in a transfer request, the League One club have confirmed.
The 26-year-old, whose contract expires in the summer, has been strongly linked with a move away from Elland Road, with Championship leaders Newcastle leading the chase for his signature.
And Leeds have now revealed Beckford informed them of his desire to leave last month, although they insist their star forward will not be allowed to leave on the cheap.
A statement on the club's website read: "Leeds United can confirm that Jermaine Beckford has handed in a transfer request. The transfer request was handed in on December 30.
"By handing in a transfer request it clearly indicates that the player wants to leave Leeds United. However, that will only be allowed to happen in the event that it is decided to be in the best interests of Leeds United.
"The best interests of Leeds United involve receiving both an acceptable transfer fee and securing a suitable replacement to ensure his departure does not have an adverse effect on the club's overall aim of securing promotion back to the Championship.''
Beckford scored his 20th goal of the season in last weekend's shock 1-0 FA Cup victory over Manchester United.
Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has admitted his interest in the player, although he has given little away as he considers his options with the club flying high at the top of the Championship table.
Hughton said: "The most important thing from our point of view is that, come the end of this window, we have got what we believe is the right players in and the right squad to go through what will be a difficult second half of the season.''