Newcastle Jets' efforts to sign star striker Roy O'Donovan have failed with the club announcing his departure on Monday.
The 33-year-old Irish striker had been close to agreeing to terms for a third season in the Hunter Valley, but talks broke down recently beyond repair.
Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna explained his disappointment at losing the centre-forward, revealing the club believed a deal was imminent on a few occasions.
"We made a number of generous offers to Roy and his management," McKinna said.
"Talks began [about re-signing] midway through the season, with serious discussions beginning about two months ago.
"As [coach] Ernie [Merrick], [operations manager] Joel [Grifftihs] and myself said from the beginning we wanted to keep Roy and did everything within reason to extend his stay in Newcastle.
"We were close on a number of occasions, but unfortunately from our perspective the goal posts continued to shift.
"It was disappointing from as the club has stood by and supported him through some difficult circumstances."
O'Donovan's next club has not been revealed but he will likely attract interest from A-League sides looking for a striker such as Western Sydney Wanderers, Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar.
The striker wasn't able to play this season until round nine because of a suspension for kicking the face Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas during last year's 1-0 grand final loss.
But once settled back in the starting XI, O'Donovan scored 11 goals in 19 matches to help spearhead a late finals charge that ultimately failed in the final weeks of the campaign.
He leaves the Jets after scoring 20 goals in 37 appearances and began his A-League stint with Central Coast Mariners in 2015 - finding the back of the net 19 times over two seasons.