Mohamed Diame will leave Newcastle United this summer.
The midfielder is two starts away from triggering a one-year contract extension.
However, Rafa Benitez has revealed that Diame – who favours a two-year extension to his deal, which expires at the end of next month – will not start the club’s penultimate Premier League game against Liverpool tonight.
And that means the 31-year-old, linked with Championship club Leeds United, will be able to leave the club as a free agent when his contract expires.
Asked if Diame was in contention to start against Liverpool, manager Benitez said: “I told you – it was not an easy one. I was talking with him a few weeks ago about something to do with his state of mind and what he was thinking.
“I knew exactly what he was thinking, if he can play, if he has to play, he will play.
“If he’s a player who has (Isaac) Hayden playing well, Ki (Sung-yueng) or Jonjo (Shelvey), he’s not a player who will maybe have a future.
“It’s something you have to discuss with the player, and that’s it. He’s fine, he can play. Will he start? I don’t think so.”
Speaking late last month, Diame said: “I’ve always said I’m happy here playing for this club and these fans. But this is football, and you have to deal with it.
“If I stay, I will be happy, and if I don’t stay, I will be happy somewhere else. That’s it.”
Benitez paired Isaac Hayden – who wants to leave Newcastle in the summer to be with his fiancee and infant daughter – and Jonjo Shelvey in midfield against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend. It was Shelvey’s first league start in more than five months.
Ki Sung-yueng came off the bench at the Amex Stadium, and Diame was an unused substitute.