English Premiership

Owen's Stoke move approved

2012-09-05 17:53
Michael Owen (File)

London - Former England striker Michael Owen was on Wednesday given the green light by the English Premier League to join Stoke City on a free transfer.

The 32-year-old, who made his name at Liverpool before joining Real Madrid, signed a one-year pay-as-you-play deal on Tuesday following his release from Stoke's Premier League rivals Manchester United at the end of last season.

Owen was unveiled as Stoke manager Tony Pulis's seventh summer signing but both the player and the club were made to wait on the decision from the Premier League to confirm his eligibility.

Owen will be available for selection ahead of Stoke's next Premier League fixture, which sees champions Manchester City visit the Britannia Stadium.

A Premier League statement, giving its all clear for the deal, read: "The Premier League board has confirmed to Stoke City the registration of Michael Owen. Consequently he can be included in their 25-man playing squad."

Owen confirmed the news himself on Twitter moments before the club posted the decision on their official website.

His Tweet read: "It's official! Deal done. I'm a Stoke player. Can't wait to get going."

He has enjoyed an impressive career, scoring 221 goals in 473 appearances, but his time on the pitch has been blighted by a series of injury problems and he has started just one Premier League match in the last two seasons.

Although he was also linked with Liverpool and Sunderland, Owen insisted Tuesday he was "always keen to join Stoke.

After signing a one-year contract, he posted on Twitter: "Delighted to have signed for Stoke subject to Premier League approval.

"We have been in talks for a while and it was a club I was always keen to join."

Clubs are able to sign free agents outside the transfer window but are only able to field them in the Premier League if they have previously registered fewer than 25 players.

Owen is Stoke's seventh signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Jamie Ness, Geoff Cameron, Michael Kightly, Maurice Edu, Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi.

For England, Owen scored 40 goals in 89 appearances, including a hat-trick against Germany in a 5-1 2002 World Cup qualifier victory just over a decade ago.

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