Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

OWEN DEAL IS ON TABLE; United Make Written Offer to Ace Michael

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

OWEN DEAL IS ON TABLE; United Make Written Offer to Ace Michael

Article excerpt

Byline: By ALAN OLIVER Chief Sports Writer

NEWCASTLE United have made their first big move to keep Michael Owen.

The Chronicle can reveal United have written to Owen's agent today to offer the striker a new deal.

Sources at the club say that "it is a very good offer" for their 29-year-old skipper, who again proved just how valuable he with his 29th goal for Newcastle in his 51st start in yesterday's excellent victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

And it's news that will surely delight the United fans, who can now only wait and wonder if the club's biggest asset will still be in a blackand-white shirt in January or at the start of next season.

United fans had to endure all the talk over the weekend of Everton and Spurs being interested in Owen, with very little said on the fact that he might actually stay at St James's Park.

Owen himself admitted talks on his new contract had stalled while the club was "in turmoil".

The last offer on the table for Owen was a one-year extension to his four-year deal, with a drop in his pounds 105,000 a week wages to around pounds 80,000, but with several clauses.

One was that Owen had to play in 80% of United's games - something he has not done since he arrived on Tyneside from Real Madrid for pounds 17m in the summer of 2005.

Owen, of course, is free to talk to other clubs in just 17 days' time, but Joe Kinnear has urged club owner Mike Ashley not to sell the England striker in the next transfer window.

Owen was a bit nonplussed when Kinnear said on Friday that he was not too confident of getting his skipper to sign a new contract.

But Owen was his usual professional self at Fratton Park yesterday and his goal set up only the second away win in the Premier League in 2008 for United.

And by making their move today, United have put the ball very much back in Owen's court. …

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