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Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Owen 'owes Magpies another year'

Freddy Shepherd and Michael Owen
Shepherd masterminded Owen's move to St James' Park in 2005

Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd believes Michael Owen "owes" the club at least another season.

Newcastle have offered Owen a new three-year deal, but he insists he will not make a decision about his future until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old, who Shepherd helped to sign for 17m from Real Madrid in 2005, will be a free agent in the summer.

"There should be at least a thread of loyalty. Morally, he owes Newcastle another year," said Shepherd.

Owen, who has been linked with the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and former club Liverpool, said he has "no intention" of leaving the club during the January transfer window.

"I hope this is seen as a positive, and not disloyal in any way," he said on Monday.

Owen has been plagued by various injuries since his move to St James's Park in August 2005, making just 52 starts and scoring 29 goals.

But Shepherd believes Owen, who has fallen out of the England squad under new coach Fabio Capello, should be indebted to stay another season and repay Newcastle's belief in his abilities.

"He has been injured a lot of the time since I signed him and he has barely played one in four games that he could have done had he been fit," Shepherd told the Daily Express.

"He should remember what the club did for him, especially after his World Cup injury in 2006 in Germany. We looked after him and ensured he had the best care for the next year.

"I personally went to (Fifa president) Sepp Blatter, and as a result we got the international insurance changed to cover not just 50,000 of a player's wages but 100,000.

"Michael won't want to hear what I am saying but that's the way it is. They say there is no loyalty in football any more but this is an extreme case.

"He has been very well paid, handsomely paid, for four years and there should be some return for Newcastle."

Newcastle interim boss Joe Kinnear said he is "optimistic" that Owen will stay with Newcastle when he comes to a decision.

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see also
Owen delays decision over future
22 Dec 08 |  Newcastle
Kinnear backed for new signings
18 Dec 08 |  Newcastle
Portsmouth 0-3 Newcastle
14 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Owen talks delayed by 'turmoil'
06 Dec 08 |  Newcastle
Benitez rules out move for Owen
02 Dec 08 |  Liverpool
Magpies offer Owen improved deal
31 Aug 08 |  Newcastle
Owen is told to wait for new deal
17 Oct 07 |  Newcastle
Kinnear stays for rest of season
28 Nov 08 |  Newcastle

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