Date: 10th January 2009 at 1:10am
Written by:

Michael Owen is set to clinch a free-transfer to Abu-Dhabi-owned club Manchester City in the summer after refusing to sign a contract extension with present club Newcastle United.

The England International has only scored 29 goals in all competitions since arriving from Real Madrid for a fee in excess of £16 million, and most fans will feel that if the 29-year-old wants to leave, the club should cash-in before it is too late. However, there have been no offers for Owen from any of the so-called ‘Big Four’ of English football, and Manchester City look to be the safest option for the former-Liverpool man, who has recently fallen out of favour with England manager Fabio Capello.

The Daily Express is reporting that Michael Owen has struck a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the Manchester-based club to join them on a Bosman transfer once the transfer window opens in the summer – with City poised to pay him £90,000 a week on a 3 year-deal.

This may be worrying news for the injury-hit Magpies who are without several of their key players. Newcastle current lie only two points above the relegation zone in the Barclays Premier League.

The question now is whether Newcastle should stick with a player who has already decided to leave them over the summer and hope that his potential contribution this season is enough to avoid a January sale? Or, would it be in the club’s best interest to think long-term and recoup at least a fraction of the £16m they paid in 2005, and buy someone who actually wants to wear the black & whites stripes?

Joe Kinnear will have to think long, and hard to make that decision. But the club’s owner has made it abundantly clear that any player is expendable if the right offer comes along, and with Owen’s determination to leave for free over the summer, the club might as well take Mike Ashley’s lead and go ahead with the player’s sale to make way for an younger and less injury-prone option.