- Premier League
Michael Owen closing on Stoke switch
Former Manchester United striker Michael Owen is set to join Stoke City on a one-year deal.
Owen, 32, is a free agent after being released by United at the end of last season, with the former England international linked with a host of clubs, but should now move to the Britannia Stadium.
Tony Pulis has been given the all-clear to sign Owen by Stoke chairman Peter Coates. A Stoke insider told ESPN on Tuesday: "The proposal of taking Michael Owen is now being made. We are talking about a pay-as-you-play arrangement, there will be no other offer put on the table.
"If the terms are right, it is a possibility, and the manager wants to take him but the club have a lot of strikers and would have liked to have moved at least one on before the transfer deadline."
Stoke are believed to be ready to offer Owen a basic one-year deal, with a host of incentives, including the possibility of a second year if he proves his fitness after playing just four games last season for Manchester United.
Pulis is convinced Owen, who scored 40 goals in 89 England appearances still has the pedigree to make an impact at the Britannia Stadium.
Owen plans to announce a decision this week, and his advisors have told ESPN that he plans to stay in the North West, another indicator he will sign for the Potters.
The former England striker has made it clear, via his Twitter account, that he still feels he can perform at Premier League level and maintains his poor appearances record at Old Trafford was largely due to being overlooked by Sir Alex Ferguson, rather than a catalogue of injuries.
Speculation has grown since Liverpool failed to sign a striker before the close of the transfer window, while Sunderland, Everton and Australian club Melbourne Heart have also linked to Owen.
The 32-year-old has been in discussions with unnamed clubs and fuelled speculation a decision might be imminent by tweeting a picture of his boots and shin pads with the message: "The tools of my trade are stacked and ready to go!"
Marseille's Joey Barton responded with, "Where u off mate?", to which Owen eventually replied: "I will tell you on Wednesday!"
One place Owen will not be ending up is Anfield after the Reds informed ESPN on Tuesday that they are no longer pursuing a move to bring their former striker back to Anfield.