JEF United have just unveiled former Liverpool assistant boss Alex Miller as new head coach and Nikkan Sports says Chiba officials were preparing an initial approach. Contact has already been made with Owen's agent Tony Stephens.

Chiba's Kentaro Shiga said: "The reports are not 100 percent off the mark. Owen's name was one of those being talked about when the team were looking at possible targets."

Struggling Chiba are rooted to the bottom of the J-League first division, only winning their first game in 12 matches this season at the weekend with Miller watching from the stands.