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Aug 19, 2008

Ashley shouldn't be spending on Owen

Why on earth would any football club offer Michael Owen even more money not to play?

With the news that Newcastle United are ready to make him one of the best paid players in the Premier League, on an estimated £140,000 a week, Magpies' fans must be wondering where all the money has come from.

Only last week, owner Mike Ashley claimed that the club has £27million worth of debt for players purchased before he took over the club, and now the billionaire seems ready to blow a similar amount to keep the England striker tied down for the foreseeable future.

It seems unbelievable, especially for a 28-year-old who has only played a total of one full season in his three years at the club, but it's the kind of bad business that Newcastle are becoming associated with.

Wasting incredible amounts of money on flops like Jean-Alain Boumsong and Albert Luque, the club also spent £7million on Carl Cort in 2000, proving that they have never been ones to let a high price tag put them off.

Indeed, Owen's arrival in a £16million deal from Real Madrid in 2005 looked vastly overpriced at the time and he has never quite looked settled at St James's Park after spending most of his time at the club on the treatment table.

Injuries have blighted the striker's career and things have not improved as he missed the whole of Newcastle's pre-season campaign for the 2008/09 season.

Meanwhile the Newcastle rebuilding machine has seen manager Kevin Keegan allowed to bring in just three players this summer, with Ashley seemingly unwilling to sanction any major deals and giving off the impression that money is tight.

Certainly a fit Michael Owen is an important player for the side, but can the club really afford to give him such a huge pay rise? He is already reported to be on a £115,000-a-week deal, which expires next summer, and has stated in the past that he has yet 'to prove himself' at St James's.

It's not rocket science, but if Owen is happy to stay at the club and prove his worth on his current salary, then Ashley shouldn't even consider raising his wages.

If he isn't, then trying to recoup as much of his £16mllion transfer fee as quickly as possible seems the best course of action. If there are any clubs who will take him.

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