Michael Owen is clear when he says he wants to stay at Newcastle United, but the player has today warned he will leave on a free transfer next summer, if the club do not improve their contract offer.
Â Michael Owen – could leave as free agent next summer
There have been meetings ongoing between Owenâ€™s contract advisers and the Newcastle negotiating team that includes Executive Director (football) Dennis Wise and Head of Recruitment Tony Jimenez.
But because Michael has just one year left on his contract he can leave within a year, and therefore can simply refuse the Newcastle offer, and even buy his contract out right now for around Â£5M.
But Owen has said many times that he wants to stay on Tyneside, and lead the Newcastle revolution on the field under Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan, but the England international also feels the club need to reward him financially.
We’re not sure why Michael thinks he deserves to be rewarded, because his contract right now is over Â£5M a year and in the last 3 years he’s played around 47 times for the club and scored 20 goals.
Add to that our transfer fee to Real Madrid of around Â£17M, and Michael has been an expensive proposition for Newcastle, to say the least.
Because of this, and the fact that Newcastle must reduce their wage bill this season, the club have asked Owen to reduce his wage demands.
However, as a free agent Michael will be able to negotiate a far larger basic weekly wage if he leaves either next summer or buys his contract out this summer.
Newcastle seem not to be budging on this, and the very last thing we want right now is a stand-off between Owen’s representatives and Newcastle, where the contract doesn’t get signed.
That’s probably Kevin Keegan’s nightmare scenario, and the reports suggest that Owen is growing increasingly concerned at the lack of progress.
A source close to Owen said today:
â€œMichael wants to stay and he will stay if Newcastle give him what he wants, but that hasnâ€™t happened yet and the contract talks are dragging on.”
“Michael can leave on a free transfer next season and he knows he will get the wages he wants then. He is in a strong position.â€
Owen seems happy at Newcastle, and he has been enthusiastic in the way he has talked about the start of the new season, and the positive impact Keegan has had since he returned as manager.
However, Michael is also a hard-nosed business man and is unlikely to allow emotions get in the way.
The club are also in a difficult position, because if they cannot hold onto Michael Owen, there will be even more criticism the club are just too tight when it comes to handling world class players, and the chances of us signing them in the future, will not look good, at least not to the fans.
The worst thing that can happen is the status quo continues where nothing gets done, and the best is that the club announce they have reached a 4 year deal with Michael in the near future.
But we have to think that Kevin Keegan cannot be too happy at these events right now, with no transfers happening anytime soon,Â and problems with keeping his captain, who he has said many times he wants to build the Newcastle team around.
Oh well, another day in the difficult life of being a Newcastle United fan.
Be sure to take our new poll on whether Michael should be prepared to take a wage cut and stay at Newcastle.
We need a nice win this afternoon with the lads playing very well – just like last week.