Owen could join Everton on a free

MICHAEL Owen is set for an emotional return to Merseyside in the summer - with Everton primed to make him an offer to end his career at Goodison Park. (Daily Express)Owen is heading for Liverpool this weekend as Newcastle face another scrap for points in their fight to avoid relegation, but his return to the city where he became a hero at Anfield may be for the long term.

MICHAEL Owen is set for an emotional return to Merseyside in the summer - with Everton primed to make him an offer to end his career at Goodison Park. (Daily Express)

Owen is heading for Liverpool this weekend as Newcastle face another scrap for points in their fight to avoid relegation, but his return to the city where he became a hero at Anfield may be for the long term.

Newcastle's temporary boss Alan Shearer, a former England team-mate, would love his star striker to agree a new deal on Tyneside. But Everton are ready to tempt Owen with a return to his home patch whether or not Newcastle survive in the Premier League.

The crucial factor is timing, with Owen's Newcastle deal running down to its conclusion this summer. He announced in mid-winter that he would not seek a transfer in the January window but had no intention of signing a new contract for Newcastle until this season ended.


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He also insisted his decision had nothing to do with money and claimed he would consider taking a pay cut - a statement that was seen as a carrot both to potential suitors and Newcastle.

It is understood that Everton will not match Owen's current deal - worth more than �100,000 a week - but that would not necessarily be a problem for the player. He would almost certainly receive, in addition to his Everton contract, a handsome signing-on fee.

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It is understood that if Everton follow up their interest, it would intrigue a player who was a fan of theirs as a boy.

Everton tried to sign Owen when Newcastle took him from Real Madrid four years ago and boss David Moyes spoke with him. But they could not compete with Newcastle's �17million bid.

Now they could effectively get him on a Bosman free, although there may be competition from the considerably richer owners of Manchester City.

But Everton would suit Owen, who often relies on a helicopter when he commutes from his family base in Cheshire.

He would be back to his roots and to his boyhood favourites - the club where his father, Terry, spent some time as a player. And he would be close to the multi-million-pound racehorse facility he opened in 2007.

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