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According to reports, Liverpool striker Michael Owen is on the verge joining Real Madrid with Fernando Morientes expected to move to Anfield in part-exchange.

The England striker is understood to have been offered to the Spanish club in a move which is likely to cost the Spanish club no more than £10m. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is expected to demand the inclusion of Fernando Morientes as part of the deal.

Owen, 24, has significantly failed to sign a new contract with Liverpool, despite continually reiterating his desire to remain at Anfield.

The striker’s current contract expires next summer and with interest from Real, they have been forced to put the striker up for sale.

Owen is currently in Austria preparing for Liverpool’s Champions League qualifier against Grazer AK. If he plays tonight, he would be cup-tied from European competition this season, thus reducing his transfer value to potential bidders.

“Michael is on the list of players (available for selection), but we will see tomorrow whether he is to play or not,” said Benitez last night.

“I’d rather not talk about his future until after this match.”

“At Valencia I’d only tell my team who was playing about 30 minutes before kick-off, and they’d take bets as to who was playing,” he added.

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