Newcastle United boss Joe Kinnear is struggling to keep his squad together ahead of the January market.

The News of the World says there is growing unrest that SEVEN players whose contracts run out next summer have still to hear about new deals.

Four of those - Michael Owen, Nicky Butt, Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi - have their agents now actively seeking new clubs.

And all seven will be free to begin negotiations in the new year about a free transfer move at the end of the season.

That could lead to either cheap exits in January to haul in funds for team strengthening or pre-contracts being signed with new clubs, weakening Newcastle for a coming relegation scrap.