Liverpool make move to bring Owen home

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid confirmed last night that they had received a second offer from the Premiership for the 25-year-old, who was omitted from Wanderley Luxemburgo's squad for the first time, against Cadiz, on Sunday and spent yesterday in talks with officials from both Anfield and St James' Park.

Madrid have agreed a fee of about £16m with the Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd but Liverpool, currently not in a financial position or frame of mind to match that sum, are believed to have proposed a season-long loan with a view to a permanent £8m transfer next year.

Owen's stated preference for a return to Anfield over a one-year loan at Newcastle has increased Liverpool's conviction that they will sign the player on their terms before the transfer deadline tomorrow night, although Madrid have indicated that they will be happy to keep the forward if they deem the approach unacceptable.

The Real vice-president, Emilio Butragueno, revealed: "We have received two bids from England, one of which has been accepted already. The other will be discussed by the directors today. If Owen doesn't want to join a particular club after we have accepted a bid then he will stay and fight for Real. We can review the situation in January or at the end of the season if nothing happens this week."

The Liverpool chief executive, Rick Parry, will have more room for manoeuvre if the club off-load Djibril Cissé in the next 48 hours, with Marseilles declaring their interest.

*Roy Keane has returned to the Republic of Ireland squad for the key World Cup qualifier against France at Lansdowne Road on 7 September.

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