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Newcastle striker Michael Owen has admitted that Alan Shearer played a significant role in convincing him to join the Magpies from Real Madrid.

Owen will be officially unveiled by Newcastle on Wednesday after agreeing a four-year deal and is believed to have cost a club record £17m.

“Alan was a great help throughout and was instrumental in my decision,” said Owen, writing in The Times newspaper.

“He even offered to give up his number nine shirt, but I’ve declined.”

On mOnday, Owen met Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd, manager Graeme Souness, captain Alan Shearer and coach Dean Saunders.

“I was uncertain that a Liverpool bid would be accepted in time and I wanted to play for a club who really wanted me.

“My mind was made up, particularly when I thought back to the excellent meeting I had enjoyed with the Newcastle directors, management and Alan Shearer.

“We met the large Newcastle contingent at a grand country house, although I didn’t know there were cameras in the bushes.

“The meeting went on for almost three hours and what was said made a very strong impression on me.

“Alan should work for the Newcastle tourist board when he finishes playing football.”

Owen said he was thrilled by the chance to play alongside Shearer in what is to be the former England striker’s final season.

“I will regard playing alongside him in his last season as an honour,” he said.

“There is no way Newcastle should be where they are in the table with that calibre of player.

“I have a lot of good memories of St James’ Park, including a hat-trick on my first visit with Liverpool.

“I was clapped off by the home fans that afternoon and I only hope that I can give them plenty more reasons to cheer me.”

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