Manager Sam Allardyce has contacted Manchester City's Sven Goran Eriksson to see if he is interested in Owen. The two worked closely together during the Swede's five-and-a-half years in charge of England but although Eriksson is keen, City owner Thaksin Shinawatra has blocked any deal because of the 28-year-old's wretched fitness record since he moved to St James' Park.
Owen has started only 21 games since joining Newcastle. When his £105,000-a-week salary is taken into account, the deal has so far cost them more than £30m.
Newcastle will want about £8m and fear the former Liverpool striker would be available for nothing at the end of next summer if he is not sold. There has been no sign of a contract extension and Owen is eager to be playing European football at this critical stage of his career.