Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Concern Rises in Owen Saga; Keegan Disappointed Striker Has Not Been 'Tied Up'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Concern Rises in Owen Saga; Keegan Disappointed Striker Has Not Been 'Tied Up'

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS

KEVIN Keegan admits he is disappointed the club have yet to agree a new contract with striker Michael Owen - but the Newcastle manager is confident owner Mike Ashley will provide the resources to help him challenge for a place in Europe next season, writes MARK DOUGLAS.

It is almost a month since Keegan publicly stated that securing Owen would be the most important signing the club could make this summer.

But despite indications from the England striker he would react positively to overtures from the club, there has still been little movement from the board.

In his column in the Newcastle programme for yesterday's game against Chelsea, Owen admitted there has been no contact from the United board with his advisers, something Keegan says is a matter for concern.

However, while he would like to see progress on that front, Keegan does not believe his comments about not being able to offer him Champions League football in the foreseeable future will affect his star striker's decision on whether to sign any new deal.

"Six weeks ago I asked the club to tie him up, it's not happened yet," said Keegan. "It's disappointing but it's not the end of the world. I've not told Michael in the six weeks I've been talking to him about staying that if he stays here he'll get Champions League football or we'll win the Premier League.

"I'm not misleading anyone there. If we finish fifth it'd be a massive achievement considering where we are now."

A passionate Keegan was in animated mood after the 2-0 defeat, promising not to deceive the Newcastle supporters about where they could be realistically challenging next season.

He had earlier raised eyebrows with comments in a television interview that he would not be given enough money to make a concerted challenge for the top four. But he sought to clarify that point by asserting that - regardless of the funds available - he would not be able to assemble a team to compete with the topflight's elite quartet. …

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