Last season, Michael Owen started to finally pay back the £16 million that Newcastle paid for him three years ago. However, the fact remains that the England striker has only made 37 league starts for the Magpies since joining for Real Madrid, something that Kevin Keegan will be anxious to redress this term. There is also the nagging issue of Owen’s contract, which could see the player walk out on a free if the club aren’t careful.
The Guardian report that Newcastle have until next summer to improve their contract offer, or risk losing their star man for nothing. You might think that Owen would be happy to collect £105,000 a week for the next few years on Tyneside, considering the number of appearances he’s made to date, but football doesn’t work like that. United now have to decide whether the former Liverpool hotshot is worth holding on to.
Although the 28-year-old would rather stay at Newcastle, he knows he is likely to receive a larger wage offer elsewhere if he leaves on a Bosman and as a result he and his advisers are negotiating from a position of considerable strength.
Newcastle’s owner, Mike Ashley, is keen to reduce wages but Owen does not see why he should take a pay cut after proving his worth with 10 goals in 19 games at the end of last season. The club, though, are mindful that their £16m signing from Real Madrid has played only 47 games for them in three years because of injuries.
If I were the Newcastle owner, I would tell Owen to take it or leave it. The player will be 29 next summer and if he’s been blighted by injuries in the past couple of seasons, it’s more than likely that they will occur again. True, the Magpies might not get any money for the forward, but they will get shot of his horrendous wage demands and can build towards the future instead.