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Dubai's Al-Shabab claim Owen deal near

Michael Owen is on the verge of agreeing a surprise move to Al-Shabab, according to the UAE Pro League club.

Owen, 32, was released by Manchester United earlier this month after struggling for form and fitness over the past couple of years.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker has previously been linked with a move to Stoke City but is thought to be open to the possibility of playing abroad, with a potentially lucrative payday in the Middle East on the cards.

Al-Shabab have now claimed that they are in advanced negotiations with Owen's representatives about a switch to Dubai.

"Michael Owen has been identified as a candidate to play for Shabab next season and we are in negotiations with his management team," the club announced on Twitter. "The player's agent is in Dubai to close the deal."

A club spokesman added: "We are in talks with the player and his agent, but no agreement has yet been reached between the parties. Things should become clear soon."

Al-Shabab, managed by Brazilian Paulo Bonamigo, finished third in the UAE Pro League in 2012 and will play in the group stage of next year's Asian Champions League.

Owen joined United ahead of the 2009-10 season after leaving Newcastle, but while he scored a dramatic winning goal in the 4-3 derby victory over Manchester City, as well as a Champions League hat-trick against Wolfsburg and a Carling Cup final goal against Aston Villa in his first campaign, the former England international subsequently failed to assert himself on the first-team picture at Old Trafford.

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