Stoke expected to beat Everton in chase for Michael Owen

 

Michael Owen is expected to join Stoke later this month despite apparent interest from Everton.

Owen was released by Manchester United this summer after three years at Old Trafford which were scarred by injury problems.

The 32-year-old confirmed he had no plans to retire, having previously stated his intention to remain in the top flight.

And, despite playing just 10 times since January 2011, Press Association Sport understands there has been plenty of interest in Owen, with Stoke now looking like the preferred option for England's fourth highest scorer.

It does seem like an obvious move. Manager Tony Pulis recently admitted an interest in Owen "along with a number of other players", and Stoke is barely 30 miles from the striker's plush Manor House Stables complex which, under the guidance of trainer Tom Dascombe, is quickly gaining an impressive reputation in racing circles.

There is some competition from Everton, although whether Owen would be willing to join the Goodison Park outfit given his status as a former Liverpool player is open to debate.

Some uncertainty at the Merseyside outfit lingers anyway as David Moyes remains among the favourites to fill the managerial vacancy at Tottenham, even though his odds have drifted from the immediate aftermath of Harry Redknapp's exit.

The arrival of Owen would represent a further move away from the perception of Pulis having a long-ball team.

Although they tended to rely on the aerial threat of Ricardo Fuller when they returned to the top flight in 2008, Peter Crouch has never been viewed as a target man despite his height and he spent much of last season in tandem with Jonathan Walters.

Fitness permitting, Pulis would presumably be looking for Owen's predatory instincts to maximise the goal threat of a side who found the net just 36 times last term, the worst record in the entire Premier League.

PA

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