Stoke City sign Michael Owen: Peter Coates' delight at deal
STOKE City chairman Peter Coates says he's delighted the club has agreed terms with England legend Michael Owen after the striker signed a pay-as-you-play contract.
City have signed the 32-year-old on a one-year deal, subject to Premier League approval after the club raced to meet yesterday's 5pm deadline to confirm their 25-man squad.
Because the contract was signed so close to the deadline, the deal has to be ratified by the Premier League this morning.
That means that, rather than naming their squad last night, Stoke delayed the announcement to wait for the Premier League's verdict.
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Coates says City have been keen to sign a player who is England's fourth highest goalscorer with 40 goals in 89 appearances.
Stoke have been favourites to sign Owen since he was released by Manchester United at the end of last season.
The chairman said: "His pedigree is well known. He is a wonderful footballer and I don't see why he hasn't got a lot of football left in him.
"Goalscorers are born not made. It is instinctive and Michael Owen has the skill that you can't coach. He has always had that gift.
"I saw him play for Liverpool against Stoke reserves at Southport when he was about 16. People were talking about this young player and he has certainly gone on to make his mark."
Signing the former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United striker will further raise Stoke's profile following the £10m club-record capture of Owen's former England strike partner Peter Crouch last year.
However, Coates says Stoke want Owen to score goals rather than boost the club's profile.
He said: "We don't sign players to raise our profile, we sign them to make us a better team and give us a better squad.
"I hope it works out well for him."
After signing, Owen 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. I'm particularly excited at the prospect of working under Tony Pulis.
"He has assembled a great squad that I look forward to joining. I'm now looking forward to contributing as much as possible to the club and can't wait to play in front of a great set of supporters."
Owen has scored 221 goals in 473 career appearances, but the pay-as-you-play element of his contract reflects his recent fitness record.
He only played four games for Manchester United last season, although he scored three goals to take his tally to 17 in 52 games during his three years at Old Trafford.
If City gain approval from the Premier League, Owen will become their seventh recruit of the summer, following Jamie Ness, Geoff Cameron, Michael Kightly, Maurice Edu, Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi.