West Ham United can confirm Lucas Neill has rejected the offer of a new one-year contract after the release of the retained list of players for the 2009/10 season.
Following discussions in recent weeks which saw the out-of-contract defender seeking a one-year deal to take him up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the club made the 31-year-old right-back a significant offer to retain his services. However, he rejected that contract proposal this week and is pursuing other opportunities. West Ham United wish him well after two-and-a-half years' service and will focus on improving the first-team squad for the new season.
The club are working hard on a number of transfer targets for the coming campaign, having already secured many players on long-term deals. During the 2008/09 season, a dozen - all capped at various international levels - have pledged their future while highly-rated Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper Peter Kurucz has agreed a permanent four-year switch from Ujpest FC after a successful loan spell.
The 12 players were Herita Ilunga, whose own permanent transfer from Toulouse for an undisclosed fee comes into force this summer, Jack Collison, Mark Noble, Savio Nsereko, Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas, Marek Stech, James Tomkins, Dean Ashton, Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole and Scott Parker, the new Hammer of the Year.
Diego Tristan, Lee Bowyer, Walter Lopez, Kyel Reid, Tony Stokes and Jimmy Walker are free to leave the Boleyn Ground, while Jan Lastuvka, Radoslav Kovac and David Di Michele have completed their initial loan spells and return to UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk, Spartak Moscow and Torino respectively.
The loans of Calum Davenport and Julien Faubert to Sunderland and Real Madrid respectively will both officially end this month. Academy youngsters Jack Jeffery, Ashley Miller, Tom Harvey and Ryan O'Neill have not been offered new professional deals while Joe Widdowson has joined Grimsby Town.
The club would like to wish all the departing players well in their future careers.