The Daily Mail says as Owen discovered during talks that took place prior to Mike Ashley's decision to sell the club, Newcastle are no longer prepared to pay him the £105,000 a week he commanded when he made his £17million move from Real Madrid in August 2005. He has suffered a string of injury problems, reducing him to 51 starts and making him something of a luxury.
In these difficult times for Newcastle, he has become a luxury they can no longer afford. The offer that was made in writing yesterday was closer to £80,000 a week, and even then it is said to be performance and appearance-related.
During those original talks, which occurred shortly before Kevin Keegan walked away from the club in September, they tried to convince Owen that he could still earn the kind of money he was used to. But, according to sources, he would have had to guide Newcastle to Champions League glory to do so. The contract, in the view of the Owen camp, was more than a little unrealistic.