The Guardian says Owen has warned Newcastle United he will leave on a Bosman free transfer at the end of the season unless they improve their contract offer. The England striker has told friends he wants to stay at St James' Park having been impressed by Kevin Keegan since the manager's return in January. But talks over a new deal, which began in May, have dragged on because the club are reluctant to match his wage demands.
Owen's £105,000-a-week contract has less than a year left to run and in January he will be able to open discussions with rival clubs about a free transfer next summer. Although the 28-year-old would rather stay at Newcastle, he knows he is likely to receive a larger wage offer elsewhere if he leaves on a Bosman and as a result he and his advisers are negotiating from a position of considerable strength.