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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Owen's Real move in doubt
Michael Owen
Michael Owen's possible move from Liverpool to Real Madrid has run into further problems.

Owen was expected to move to Real after being left on the bench for Liverpool's Champions League game against Graz AK.

But Liverpool's hopes for a swap deal involving either Samuel Eto'o or Fernando Morientes have taken a blow.

Eto'o signed for Barcelona on Thursday, while Real coach Jose Antonio Camacho has vowed Morientes will not be allowed to leave the Bernabeu.

Barcelona reached a deal with Eto'o's current club Real Mallorca last week but had to wait for clearance from Real Madrid as they own half the rights to the player.

On Tuesday, Morientes scored both Real goals in the 2-0 win over Wisla Krakow in their Champions League qualifier on Wednesday, making him cup-tied for European football this season and severely reducing his appeal to Liverpool.

"No-one is going to compromise my position - we're always open to improving the squad but Morientes isn't going to leave," said Camacho.

"Morientes has shown he is the alternative we are looking for - he's the striker we need to finish off games."

I always play my best players and when I decided on my starting XI, Owen was not in it
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez
Any possible move will also be subject to the wide gulf in the two clubs' respective valuations of Owen being bridged.

According to Spanish newspaper reports, Liverpool are demanding about 20m, but Real are not prepared to spend more than 13m for a player with 10 months left on his contract.

Owen, who trained with Liverpool's reserves on Wednesday, faced renewed speculation about his future after he was left on the bench in Europe.

The decision not to involve Owen in the action means he would not be cup-tied should he move to another club in the Champions League.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez refused to comment on whether the 24-year-old striker could move to the Bernabeu.

"At the moment Michael is one of our four forwards," said Benitez. "I don't want to say anything else - I'm sorry."

"I always play my best players and when I decided on my starting XI, Owen was not in it.

"I do not talk about the future."

If Owen were to unite with England captain David Beckham at Real, the transfer fee could help fund Liverpool's interest in midfielder Xabi Alonso.

The Real Sociedad player is conveniently valued at around 10.7m and is viewed as a replacement for Danny Murphy, who has joined Charlton.

Graz AK 0-2 Liverpool
10 Aug 04  |  Liverpool

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