Joey Barton's agent has revealed his client will not be offered a new contract by Newcastle when it expires next year.
The 28-year-old midfielder has been one of the stars of the Magpies' successful Barclays Premier League campaign and his retention beyond the final year of his existing deal has been one of manager Alan Pardew's key priorities.
But Barton's agent Willie McKay today told Sky Sport: "I had a meeting with Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias and club secretary Lee Charnley and they have indicated Joey will not be offered a new contract."
McKay continued: "Joey will continue to be a Newcastle player next season and then he will leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract.
"Joey would have loved to have extended his stay at Newcastle, but unfortunately it is not to be.
"Joey has loved his time at Newcastle and nothing will change his commitment for the club next season.
"Obviously we will be monitoring the situation next January to try and find a new club for Joey as he can speak to clubs from abroad in January."
The news will come as a massive blow to fans who had hoped to see Barton, skipper Kevin Nolan and Spanish full-back Jose Enrique commit their futures to the club to maintain the foundation they have established back in the top flight.
Barton was understood to be close to extending his stay at St James' Park in January when the bombshell of Andy Carroll's departure for Liverpool dropped.
Talks were put on hold until the end of the season with the player later indicating that he would be happy to stay if Nolan also put pen to paper on a new deal.
But with Enrique seemingly heading for the exit door this summer, Barton's situation will pile further pressure on Pardew, who had hoped to resolve the outstanding contractual situations before concentrating on his summer recruitment plans.
Barton joined the Magpies from Manchester City for £5.8million during the summer of 2007 as then manager Sam Allardyce took a gamble on him following his infamous training ground bust-up with Ousmane Dabo.
But injuries and a spell behind bars saw his stock fall even lower as his off-field problems left him at a crossroads, and he seemed to be heading out of the club when he was needlessly sent off at Liverpool as Alan Shearer tried in vain to drag the Magpies out of relegation trouble.
However, Shearer was not appointed as manager on a permanent basis and after Chris Hughton took over the reins, Barton played a role, albeit once again restricted by injuries, in a successful promotion push.
But it was last season that the Tyneside faithful finally saw him back at his best as, having confronted his demons, he helped to inspire a more than creditable season back in the Premier League.
Meanwile, Newcastle have confirmed that Sol Campbell and Shefki Kuqi have left the club.
The 36-year-old former England defender and the 34-year-old one-time Finland striker have not been offered new deals after their respective short spells at St James' Park.
A spokesman said: "Newcastle United can confirm that Shefki Kuqi and Sol Campbell have left the club. The pair are on contracts which expire this summer, and both players are free to find new clubs.
"Everyone at Newcastle thanks Shefki and Sol for their efforts while at St James' Park and wishes them the very best for the future."