Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce is ready to bid for Newcastle United striker Michael Owen in January.

The Daily Star says Bruce would love to take the England outcast to the JJB Stadium. He had been resigned to losing Emile Heskey to Aston Villa when the transfer window re-opens.

His interest in Owen, however, may be a clever ploy to persuade Heskey to stay put by pairing him with his favourite international team-mate.

But Wigan have joined Spurs, Everton and Manchester City in the queue to sign 29-year-old Owen.

The Toon striker and his representatives were yesterday mulling over the new contract offer from Newcastle.