Owen delays decision on his future until summer

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Michael Owen plunged Newcastle United into further chaos yesterday when he gave the clearest signal yet that he will be leaving the club in the summer. Owen announced he would not sign a new contract this season and will wait until July to make his decision, by which time he will be a free agent.

Owen went public with his intentions just days after the interim manager Joe Kinnear had claimed the player would make a definitive decision over his future this week. Instead of signing the £90,000-a-week contract offered this week, Owen seems destined to walk out the club that signed him for £17.5m in 2005 for nothing. Having achieved the lucrative status of a free agent, it is inconceivable the player would decide to re-sign.

Nevertheless, Owen, who released the statement via his management company WMG, attempted to sugarcoat his decision by pledging to Newcastle supporters that he would not leave in January. "My decision is not about money," he said. "I told the club some months ago that I would accept a reduction in my wages." He added that he hoped it would be seen as "a positive step" and "not seen as being disloyal".

Given the usual secretiveness surrounding Owen and WMG, it is surprising that he has decided to declare his hand so openly, with the club's supporters unlikely to be impressed. The Newcastle fans are not quite so likely to see this as an act of loyalty. There is only one person who will benefit from Owen delaying his decision and that is Owen himself.

He could give no promises as to his future beyond the summer. "Following speculation about my future at Newcastle United, I have decided to make it clear that I am committed to the club until at least the end of this season, and I have informed them I do not want to make a decision about my future until that time.

"I have no intention of leaving Newcastle during the January transfer window and want to assure the fans that, under Joe Kinnear's passionate management, I am committed with the rest of the players to ensure that the club ends the season on a high."

Owen has made just 52 starts for Newcastle since joining from Real Madrid in 2005, a statistic indicative of his injury problems. It also demonstrates why many Newcastle fans feel that the player owes the club something. However, with Nicky Butt, Steve Harper, Mark Viduka and Shola Ameobi all coming to the end of their contracts this season, and their futures unresolved, these are uncertain times for Newcastle.

Kinnear said last night: "Michael told me in person about his decision and I fully understand where he is coming from. We have a great relationship as captain and manager and that will certainly continue. He is focused on scoring goals for Newcastle and helping us keep progressing this season. Michael will consider his options in the summer, but I am still optimistic he will stay with us."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness