Newcastle’s new Australian international striker Mark Viduka has indicated he has no idea on Michael Owen’s long-term future at the club.
As everyone now knows â€“ and has done for over six weeks since it was leaked by Owen’s agents – Owen’s contract contains a clause which means he can go if a bid – believed to be around Â£9M – is received.
Our other striker Oba Martins amazingly has a similar release clause â€“ thought to be 13M. We reported today that Arsenal are pursuing Martins as a replacement for Henry via this release clause. So it’s not surprising if Mark Viduka is a little puzzled right now as to who he will be lining up with at Newcastle’s first game at Bolton on August 11th. As background Mark joined Newcastle on a two-year contract with the option of a third year – earlier this month. The 31-year-old Australian, who arrived on a free transfer, had already rejected a new contract offered by Middlesbrough.
Speaking from Australia’s Singapore training camp ahead of the Asian Cup, Mark said:
“I am not sure if Michael is staying.”
“I have been on my holidays, but what is happening at Newcastle is exciting.
“We have new owners and it looks very promising. West Ham was tempting but in the end, I chose Newcastle.” “Newcastle is a big commitment – it is something you cannot go into half-heartedly, and it was hard to juggle the two.
“I realized in that day and a half I had to think about whether I wanted to be part of this Asian Cup team and part of Australia. “I did not know whether to retire or not. I mentioned this to coach Graham Arnold and I said it looked like I would go towards retiring. “Then, over the next two days, I had a good think about it and I just felt it meant too much for me to play for Australia, just to give it away like that.” “I have a lot on my plate at the moment with changing clubs, and that is how thinking about retirement came about.”
We certainly have admired Mark’s attitude since he arrived at Newcastle â€“ we think he feels his career will be rejuvenated under Sam Allardyce â€“ who obviously impressed Mark during their transfer talks. We hope his career is rejuvenated too.
On Michael Owen’s history at the club â€“ he joined Newcastle in August 2005 in a Â£17M move from Real Madrid that was heralded by around 25,000 Newcastle fans – who turned out to greet him at St. James Park. That news story was literally seen around the world and was even broadcast nationally here in the US â€“ which is very unusual for a football (soccer) event here. The context of the story was how 25,000 fans would turn out – just to see their new signing – unbelievable – well that’s Newcastle fans for you.
In Michael’s two years at Newcastle he has been injury prone to say the least, restricting him to 14 games and 7 goals. We have been disappointed that Michael – during his recent comeback for England – hardly ever mentioned his club side – who stood by him in thick and thin over the last two years. Our opinion on this is that we think it will cast Michael in a very bad light should he leave â€“ and not only Newcastle fans will question Michael’s greed and character â€“ which would not be good for Michael’s commercial ambitions.
We don’t think Michael will be going anywhere â€“ but we’ll see â€“ certainly Mark Viduka seems to have no idea.