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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Owen completes move to Newcastle
Michael Owen (right) with Magpies boss Graeme Souness
We have exceeded every expectation by signing Michael from Real Madrid on a four-year contract
Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd
England forward Michael Owen has signed for Newcastle for a club record fee.

Owen, who passed a medical on Tuesday and agreed a four-year deal, joins from Real Madrid for 17m - beating the 15m Newcastle paid for Alan Shearer.

The 25-year-old was keen to rejoin Liverpool but the Reds, who sold him to Madrid for 8m, refused to meet Real's asking price for the player.

Magpies boss Graeme Souness said: "I'm absolutely delighted. He was our first choice. The supporters will love him."

Owen added: "I spoke to Liverpool and unfortunately that deal couldn't come off.

"That's life. Deals sometimes happen, sometimes they don't. All I can do now is look to the future with Newcastle and hope to do well in this black and white shirt.

"I've had a bit of a head-spinning couple of days. There were three great clubs in the frame but the further it got towards the deadline the more it became clear Newcastle was going to be my destination.

"At the end of it all I thought the best for my future was to move to Newcastle.

"I have been honest all along. Just like Alan Shearer said he had a decision to make when he moved here in 1996, I have had a similar decision to make. It was a great decision to have to make - Real Madrid, Newcastle or Liverpool.

"If the Liverpool deal could have been done that would have been a big option, but in the end it came down to Real Madrid or Newcastle and there was no question I wanted to return to the Premiership.

"I want to play football, I love the Premiership, I've missed it while I've been away.

"It may be unfortunate for Liverpool fans that I am not there, but hopefully it is fortunate for Newcastle fans that I am here."

An estimated 20,000 Newcastle fans turned up at St James' Park to witness Owen signing for the club.

He was joined by his daughter in a Newcastle strip and arrived on the pitch with Shepherd and Souness.

Owen was delighted with his Tyneside welcome, adding: "I've never seen anything like that."

Reports said Owen has a clause allowing him to leave after a year, but Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd denies this.

"I have heard a little rumour that Michael has a clause in his contract which states he can leave Newcastle United in one year's time," he said.

"I can tell you now that he hasn't. Of course Michael has clauses in his contract.

"In this day and age, all top players do - Alan Shearer does. But that is not one of them.

"We promised our supporters that we would sign a top-class striker and we have exceeded every expectation by signing Michael from Real Madrid on a four-year contract," added Shepherd.

Owen admitted Shearer had played a major part in his decision to move to the north-east.

"He's been a good friend for a long time," he said. "It's his last season here and it will be an honour to play with him.

I think it is a question of when rather than if Newcastle wins a trophy
Michael Owen

"He shares a lot of the same interests as I do and he was one of a few reasons to join."

"Alan was one of a few reasons why I came here, but so was the chairman's desire to get me here and the manager's desire to get here."

Shearer had even offered Owen his number nine shirt for this season.

But he said: "I would never have taken it off him. The gesture was unbelievable.

"We will see what happens at the end of season but I have been number 10 all of my professional career.

"Following Shearer is not easy. I can only guarantee I will give 100%, score as many goals as I can, but help the team win as many games as possible."

Souness added: "The chairman nearly fell off his seat when I handed him a piece of paper saying this was the man I wanted.

"There are few people capable of filling Alan Shearer's shirt, but Michael is one of them.

"Our fans will love him because he's an honest lad and a world-class goalscorer, and he will be great in the dressing room.

"It was great before but it will be even better now - we've really done the business with this one."




WATCH AND LISTEN
News conference: Newcastle's Michael Owen


News conference: Newcastle boss Graeme Souness


Interview: Newcastle captain Alan Shearer




SEE ALSO
Newcastle prepare to unveil Owen
31 Aug 05 |  Newcastle United
Owen reveals Shearer role in move
31 Aug 05 |  Newcastle United


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