Owen on brink of United switch
Michael Owen will complete his shock move to Manchester United on Friday evening once final medical checks have been conducted. The former Newcastle striker spent the day at the club's Carrington training complex but left early on Friday afternoon in a black Audi 4x4 to attend a south Manchester hospital for more tests. Owen, whose contract with the Magpies expired at the end of June, had undergone a medical examination on Thursday to assess the troublesome knee which had sidelined him for much of his stay at St James' Park. However, it is anticipated the ex-Liverpool forward will return to Carrington on Friday evening when he will officially be confirmed as a United player. Despite his previous injury problems the deal represents little risk to Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been a long-time admirer of the 29-year-old. As Owen is out of contract there is no fee to pay and it believed Ferguson has struck a pay-as-you-play deal which will involve a basic weekly wage enhanced by bonuses. The player has taken a significant pay cut from the £110,000 he was reported to be on at Newcastle, for whom he scored 10 goals as they were relegated to the Coca-Cola Championship last season. But it is the lure of playing for a top-four club, with the promise of Champions League football again, which excites Owen now as he tries to force his way back into the reckoning with England coach Fabio Capello. That is particularly important for a player who has scored 40 goals in 89 appearances with a World Cup - likely to be Owen's last chance - looming next summer. Owen's switch to Old Trafford came as a major surprise as it was thought the former Real Madrid striker's chances of joining a top-four club - let alone the defending Barclays Premier League champions - was a non-starter.
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