Manchester United are not interested in signing Michael Owen from Real Madrid, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Despite speculation linking Owen with Wayne Rooney, United have joined Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in ruling out a move for the England striker.
If true, the news is a huge blow to the striker who is looking to quit Madrid following the arrival of Julio Baptista and Robinho.
Owen has not established any roots in the city, does not speak the language and the arrival of the two Brazilians means he could now be the fifth-choice striker at Real. For a player who is looking forward to leading England’s attack at next year’s World Cup finals, that situation is clearly unacceptable.
Last season Owen made 26 starts, coming on as substitute in 19 other matches, and scored a total of 16 goals.
Real will look to recoup £10 million for the striker, providing them with a £2 million profit on what they paid Liverpool last season, but with Owen’s salary demands included, any prospective deal rules out all bar a handful of suitors.
One possible escape route for Owen would have been a season-long loan at his former club Liverpoool, but Anfield boss Rafael Benitez has dismissed such a move.
“We have a lot of strikers at the club already,” Benítez explained.
“We have Djibril Cissé, Peter Crouch, Milan Baros, Anthony le Tallec, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, Neil Mellor and Fernando Morientes, so for me the most important thing at the moment is to protect [the centre-halves] Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher because they can’t play 50 games this season again.
“We are not thinking about a centre-forward at the moment, but of a centre-back and a right winger.
“I like Michael,” added Benítez. “He is a good player and a nice lad, but I am only thinking about my strikers and not about the ideas of Real Madrid and Michael Owen.”