Owen to quit Newcastle

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The Independent Football

Michael Owen has confirmed he will leave Newcastle United when his contract expires at the end of the month. The 29-year-old, who rejected a new deal at St James' Park at the turn of the year, is to depart four years after making a club-record £17m switch from Real Madrid.

Owen's decision comes as no surprise as the Magpies attempt to slash their wage bill in the wake of their disastrous relegation from the Premier League. His availability has been made known to a series of clubs both at home and abroad.

Owen said: "I'm still obviously contracted to Newcastle. I've still got weeks, a month or whatever left, I'm not sure, so that's where I am at the minute. I don't think I'm going to be re-signing at Newcastle. I don't think they are going to offer me a contract and I would prefer to play in the Premier League or a top division somewhere else. There has been a lot of interest from abroad, and quite a bit from at home as well.

"Obviously, the Premier League is where I feel I belong. I played a year out in Spain and enjoyed it at Real Madrid, but it definitely confirmed to me that I prefer the Premier League. So if it was to be a good English club, that would be my preference, but I've had quite a lot of interest from abroad, so I wouldn't rule that out."

*Chelsea have appealed against the punishments handed out by Uefa following the club's Champions League semi-final defeat to Barcelona.

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