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Page last updated at 21:39 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Hammers angry over Neill interest

West Ham captain Lucas Neill
Neill has been at West Ham since signing in January 2007

West Ham have reacted angrily to Premier League rivals Newcastle's interest in captain Lucas Neill.

The defender, 30, is out of contract in June, with Magpies boss Joe Kinnear saying he had spoken to Neill's agent.

A Hammers statement said: "We'd like to make it clear Neill is a contracted player and we've received no approach from any club, including Newcastle.

"We are astonished by reports that a Premier League manager has claimed contact with one of our players."

Neill joined West Ham in January 2007, helping the club avoid relegation that season.

"West Ham have made it clear he is a player they value as an important to of their squad and they have no desire to sell," said a Magpies spokesman.

"Newcastle United respect West Ham's position and will therefore not be pursing this matter."

Meanwhile, Kinnear also confirmed he had made a 5m bid for 22-year-old Rennes midfielder Stephane Mbia.

The Cameroon international said he was the subject of interest from Newcastle's Premier League rivals Everton in August 2008.

Kinnear keen to bolster Newcastle squad

"He is 6ft 2in, he has pace and he is powerful. I just thought he would add something else to us," said Kinnear.

"He is a fantastic player. I have seen him on numerous occasions and I would dearly love to have him.

"We are just waiting to see how they will receive the offer and if the offer is good enough and up to their expectations, or they come back and tell us how much they want."

Kinnear said he had been impressed by the support he had received from Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

606: DEBATE

"I have been in contact with him and it has been very good so far," he said.

"He is prepared to back me on what players I have seen, which is good news, but the frustrating thing is actually getting the players at the moment.

"But I am optimistic that deals will be tied up very shortly, one going out and a couple coming in."

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see also
Newcastle 0-1 Hull
14 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Mbia out for three weeks
26 Oct 08 |  African
Mbia extends contract at Rennes
09 Sep 08 |  African
Mbia claims Everton interest
08 Aug 08 |  African
Neill defends West Ham decision
23 Jan 07 |  West Ham
West Ham confirm capture of Neill
22 Jan 07 |  West Ham


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