Saturday, 6 December 2008

Owen Set For Newcastle Exit


England International striker Michael Owen will not be signing a new contract at Premier League club Newcastle United, with Magpies boss Joe Kinnear admitting that Owen will be talking to other clubs in January.

Resigned to losing former Liverpool and Real Madrid player Owen, Kinnear has also revealed that, several other players at St James’ Park, who like 28-year-old Owen are in the final year of their contracts are set to decide on their futures at the North East club. These players include goalkeeper Steve Harper, strikers Mark Viduka and Shola Ameobi along with former Manchester United player Nicky Butt.

Reports earlier this week said that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is ready to hand Kinnear £12million to spend on new players in January, but whoever departs or arrives at St James’ Park in January, Owen (left) will not be a Magpies player next season.

Kinnear told the Newcastle Journal: “I've not really had a chance to talk to the players about their contracts and I don't know what is going to happen. The players who are out of contract, I have spoken to a few of their agents. They are holding back as well. They are waiting to see what their options are in January and who comes in for them. They will make a decision then.

“I'm speaking to Shola's agent on Monday so we will see what happens there, but there isn't much I can do if the players have decided they want to see what else is there for them in January.

“I just hope I can get the players in I want because if we can get them we'll be smoking.”

Kinnear, who took over from Kevin Keegan at the Toon in September has also claimed that talks are underway to bring two transfer targets to the Premier League in January at £6million each. Money that was originally thought to not be available due to owner Mike Ashley’s eagerness to sell the Premiership club.

He added: "I have had a positive meeting with him [Ashley]. I put the case for bringing players in and we are talking to some players and their agents and clubs. We have to be ready when the window opens. I would like two to three players.

"I have given them the prices. I told them two players who cost six million each, which is £12m. He said fine, leave it with me. I will come back to you. There are players available who will help us and we will have to wait and see because I don't want to say much more.

“Mike was fine with it. We have got one who is 'umming and aah-ing, but we are still banging on the door and he is still a player we have identified.

“Instead of cash the club decided they'd come in for one of our players in an exchange. That would leave us stronger in one area and weaker in another. It would be straight swap. I am not sure we would benefit from losing another player.”

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