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May 17, 2012

United allow Owen to depart

Michael Owen has confirmed on his Twitter account that he will not be offered a new contract at Manchester United.

• Ferguson praises Owen
• Utd gain sponsorship boost

Owen, 32, moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer from Newcastle United in 2009, signing a two-year deal.

Despite a succession of injury problems, he signed a one-year extension in 2011, but he has managed just one game in the Premier League this season.

On Thursday, he confirmed that his time at the club was over. "The Manager informed me after our testimonial match on Tuesday that the club would not be offering me a new contract," he tweeted.

"I have loved every minute of the 3 years I have spent at such a fantastic club. I would like to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish them well for the future."

Owen, who reiterated in April that he "wouldn't drop out of the Premier League", added on Twitter: "I now plan to have a short holiday during which I will contemplate my next move."

He later confirmed to Sky Sports News that he would not retire following his release. "At 32, I definitely owe it to myself to have two or three years and play a bit more - but for somebody else," he said.

On his likely destination, he added: "I don't think the Championship would be an option if I am totally honest. I don't feel I have lost the ability to score goals or play at a high level. I have been playing and training with top players all my life and that was one of the attractions in going to Man Utd.

"We will wait to see where that is. If it is not the Premier League then I may look farther afield. I don't think I will be dropping into the Championship."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club's official website: "It is a pleasure to have had Michael at Manchester United.

"Michael is a consummate professional and was an influential figure in our dressing room. Unfortunately he had no luck with his injury this season.

"Michael's record of goals per game is exceptional and we wish him all the best for the future.''

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