Newcastle United are ready to commit £18 million to keep Michael Owen on Tyneside.

The Times says the England striker, whose proposed meeting with Joe Kinnear, the manager, did not materialise yesterday, has been offered a new four-year contract worth in the region of £90,000 a week.

There have been reports that Owen, 29, had been presented with a three-season extension to his deal, which expires in the summer, but the terms dispatched to his representatives on Monday were more generous. Although he earns about £115,000 a week, in the economic climate, Newcastle have signalled that they recognise the value of their record signing.

The forward retains close ties to the North West, but Everton, his most committed admirers, pay their highest earners £40,000 to £45,000 a week. Manchester City would not be fazed by his demands, yet their motivations and decision-making structure are hazy and a mooted pursuit by Wigan Athletic is hardly likely to be greeted favourably.