Newcastle United face the prospect of selling Michael Owen this summer over the club's new wage restructuring.

The Sunday Mirror says Owen, who is paid £105,000 a week, has been warned he must accept a cut on his present wages.

Toon owner Mike Ashley is desperate to reduce the Magpies' wage bill, which is believed to have risen to almost £70m in 2007-08 after jumping from £52.2m to £62.4m in the previous season.

But with 28-year-old Owen able to negotiate a Bosman free from next January it is difficult to see how Ashley can persuade him to accept a significant drop in earnings.

That would leave Ashley with the choice of cashing in on Owen this summer and getting him off the wage bill or simply letting him run down his contract at a cost of another £5m.