Manchester United are to sign former England striker Michael Owen on a free transfer, according to reports.
Owen's Newcastle contract lapsed on July 1 but although the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker apparently remained eager to stay in the Barclays Premier League, it appeared only the likes of Stoke and Hull were ready to make a concrete offer.
They now appear to have been joined by reigning champions United, who have lost star man Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina striker Carlos Tevez since the end of last season.
Owen suffered from a series of injury problems during his stint at St James' Park and Sir Alex Ferguson is thought to be lining up a pay-as-you-play deal for the forward. The 29-year-old was believed to be on around £110,000 at Newcastle, for whom he scored 10 goals as they were relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship last season, but would be happy to take a reduced basic salary for a top-four club.
United have yet to officially comment on the deal but it is understood that their pursuit of Owen is already gathering pace. Owen is believed to be travelling to Manchester on Friday for a medical, having already undergone an assessment of his troublesome knee on Thursday.
If United's medical staff give him the all-clear, Owen could join former club Liverpool's arch-rivals as soon as next week.