Fresh deal to elevate Owen's earning power

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Michael Owen is poised to tie his future to Liverpool by the end of next week and sign a new contract which will make him one of the wealthiest players in the world. The club have been in talks with the England striker for several months, but now he is ready to sign a new deal.

"We've had two positive meetings and a deal is very close," Owen said. "We're having one more meeting and I think it will be done by the end of next week.

"I want to sign as soon as possible and I don't want it to drag on. I think the next meeting will complete it. I don't anticipate any problems."

Owen has been in excellent form for both club and country, continuing an impressive end to last season. Reports have suggested that his new deal may be worth as much as £70,000 to £80,000 a week, but the 21-year-old is probably the hottest property in world football after his hat-trick against Germany and could earn even more on the continent.

Owen has scored 12 goals already this season for Liverpool and England, but insists he is only "reasonably" happy with his form.

"I'm happy with how I'm playing, but there's still room for improvement," he said. "I'm reasonably pleased with my form, especially my goalscoring, but my all-round game could be better.

"I have always felt confident I am going to play well and I know if I do I will cause defenders problems. It's not that I sense fear in the defenders, but I believe I can score goals whenever I play."

Across the city, Danny Cadamarteri will be looking to resurrect his career at another club after being released by Everton. The club announced that the 21-year-old striker will be allowed to leave "when suitable arrangements can be made" after he was found guilty of punching a young woman in the face during a late night fracas last October and fined £2,000.

"Bearing in mind that my contract ends with Everton this current season, for some time now it was mutually agreed that I should look to pursue my career elsewhere," he said in a statement.

"I accept that as a professional footballer I am in the limelight and therefore in any given public situation I have to be accountable for my actions. I am a lad of 21 years of age who has learnt a valuable lesson in life but at some considerable consequence to myself in both a professional and personal way."