Given nears Newcastle exit

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The Independent Online

Shay Given has not travelled with the Newcastle United squad to Manchester for tonight's game at City. Given remained in the north-east as the Newcastle squad flew south this morning, meaning that the Irishman's future at St James' Park has now reached its critical point.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is expected to be at the game tonight. Manchester City have offered £5m for the 32-year-old goalkeeper but Newcastle want more, though manager Joe Kinnear said yesterday for the first time that he forsees Given's departure.

He told the Newcastle Chronicle: "I've bent over backwards to keep Shay, and I have told the powers-that-be that he has got to stay.

"But I understand it from Shay's point of view."

"He's done 11 years here at Newcastle, and I think he wants a new challenge."

"It's out of my hands, and I am still waiting for the final outcome. But I think he wants a new challenge and that he wants to speak to Manchester City.

"I would be heartbroken to see him go, because he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. But Man City keep banging on the door to talk to him."

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