Newcastle are ready to resume talks with Michael Owen over a possible new contract.
The England striker will be free to leave the club he joined in 2005 at the end of the season when his current deal expires.
Owen, winner of the Ballon d'Or in 2001, refused to commit his long-term future to St James' Park when offered a contract before the new year - insisting he would not make a decision until the end of the season.
But managing director Derek Llambias insists the Newcastle hierarchy still hope he will sign up.
"We offered Michael a new contract, and he has chosen to walk away and think about his future," he told the Evening Chronicle.
"It's not on the table any more after 1 January. But we'll be sitting down with him again soon and seeing what he wants to do.
"It's difficult - he's a goalscorer who has 10 already this season in the games he's played.
"It's down to Michael. He's done his term here, and it was lucrative. But he's decided he wants to wait until the end of the season - so it's a case of watch this space."