Michael Owen options growing as Sunderland seek experience in attack

Swansea 2 Sunderland 2

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The Independent Football

Sunderland have expressed an interest in taking the former Newcastle United striker Michael Owen back to the North-east. The club made initial contact with the 32-year-old free agent; however, it is understood that conversation is yet to be followed up and Stoke City or Liverpool remain more likely to make the decisive move.

Owen, who was released by Manchester United at the end of last season, has said he wants to stay in the Premier League despite offers from Europe, and has been linked with several clubs, including Everton, Liverpool and West Ham. He said he expects to finalise a move this week.

He spent four years at Newcastle after they signed him from Real Madrid in August 2005. However, injuries, and in particular the knee ligament damage he suffered on England duty at the 2006 World Cup finals, severely limited his contribution at St James' Park.

Sunderland's manager, Martin O'Neill, worked hard all summer to strengthen his attacking options, investing heavily in the services of strikers Steven Fletcher, who scored both goals in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Swansea, and Louis Saha as well as winger Adam Johnson.

Fraizer Campbell and youngsters Ji Dong-won, Connor Wickham and Ryan Noble represent the back-up and the temptation to add experience is perhaps understandable.

Michu's equaliser made sure Swansea stayed unbeaten in the Premier League but they were hit by an ankle injury to full-back Neil Taylor which will keep him out for the season. The Swans, for whom Wayne Routledge also scored, were reduced to 10 men when Chico was sent off for a foul on Saha.

Match facts

Swansea: VORM 6/10; RANGEL 5; CHICO 5; WILLIAMS 6; TAYLOR 6; BRITTON 6; DE GUZMAN 7; MICHU 8; DYER 7; GRAHAM 6; ROUTLEDGE 7

Sunderland: MIGNOLET 6; COLBACK 5; CUELLAR 5; O’SHEA 6; GARDNER 5; McCLEAN 6; CATTERMOLE 5; LARSSON 6; JOHNSON 6; SESSEGNON 7; FLETCHER 8

Scorers: Swansea Routledge 45, Michu 66. Sunderland Fletcher 40, 45. Subs: Swa Davies 6 (Taylor, 20), Tate (Routledge, 73), Ki (Michu, 78). Sund Meyler 5 (Cattermole, 38), Saha 5 (Fletcher, 67), Campell (Sessegnon, 84). Booked: Swa Williams. Sund Gardner. Sent off: Swa Chico (71). Man of match Fletcher. Match rating 8/10. Poss: Swa 64%. Sund 36%. Attempts on target: Swa 7. Sund 2. Referee R East (Wilts). Att 20,350.

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