Owen offered new deal at Newcastle

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The Independent Football

Newcastle today formally tabled their offer of a new contract to striker Michael Owen.

It is understood the Magpies have presented the terms of the deal to the England international's representatives and are now awaiting their response.

Manager Joe Kinnear revealed on Friday that Owen, Nicky Butt, Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi, who are all out of contract at the end of the season, would be made offers this week.

He expects to sit down with all four tomorrow to discuss the way forward having been given the green light by owner Mike Ashley.

However, Kinnear admitted that, while he is hopeful of persuading Butt, Harper and Ameobi to stay at St James' Park, he is less optimistic of getting a positive answer from Owen.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker illustrated his importance to the club which paid £17million for his services three and a half years ago when he celebrated his 29th birthday with his 29th goal in their colours in the 3-0 win at Portsmouth yesterday.

Owen produced a superb finish despite the best efforts of former England team-mates Sol Campbell and David James to remind both the Magpies and national boss Fabio Capello of his potency in front of goal.

The Italian does not currently see Owen as part of his plans, but where Pompey's Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, both part of Capello's plans, fired blanks, he took his big chance with aplomb.

He later refused to be drawn on his future amid speculation that a series of suitors will attempt to lure him away from Tyneside during next month's transfer window.

However, Kinnear has insisted a man who has now scored nine goals in 15 appearances this season will not be sold during January.

The 61-year-old now faces the task of talking his captain into extending his stay rather than leaving on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Newcastle claimed to have offered Owen an "improved" three-year deal back in August, although his representatives were bemused by the suggestion.

Those claims were made amid reports that then manager Kevin Keegan had been told the striker would only be handed a one-year extension at a reduced salary of £85,000 a week, a cut of around £18,000.

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