Former Liverpool icon Michael Owen, who was released by Manchester United earlier this summer and is now a free agent, is holding out for a chance to play in the Premier League. The Englishman is looking to sort out his future as soon as possible.
Owen, who also turned out for Spanish champions Real Madrid, has been linked with a move to Stoke City and Premier League new boys Southampton, amid declarations he would not consider a drop to the Championship. He may not have to, now.
A BBC report quotes Stoke City manager Tony Pulis as admitting to being a fan of Owen's and confirming the club would look to bring him on board, if they could.
"It would be lovely to bring him in and I think he would be a very good signing, but it has to be right. Traditionally if we are dealing we do it late on because we think that is the best value we can get. We are hoping and praying that one or two things will drop for us that will improve the squad because we need to do that. And one or two will leave as well," the 54 year old explained.
Unfortunately, as with so many rumoured transfers these days, the issue of salary is likely to prove an obstacle to Pulis' wishes. The other point the Potters' boss must worry about is the fact he already has five strikers on his books - Peter Crouch, Jon Walters, Mamady Sidibe, Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome - and Owen is unlikely to move unless he is guaranteed first team football. This means that should Stoke make a concrete offer, at least two of the above five will need to find employment elsewhere; keeping six strikers on the rolls will also be near impossible from a financial point of view.
Meanwhile, Owen, for his part, realises that it is important he plays regularly, even if it is not with the best clubs. However, he remains adamant there is interest from across Europe but he is targeting Premier League clubs only.
"I want to play and am eager to start again. I just wish the fans on my Twitter account were running the clubs, then I'd sign for anyone I wanted. I want to play in the best possible team. If it was local to my house, excellent. I want to play more often, but that's not written in the contract. I don't really want to play in the Championship, I know I can still play in the Premier League and can still score goals," the 2001 Ballon d'Or winner explained.
Finally, the striker also stressed that despite his recent injury record, he remained as fit as ever to play at the highest level. In fact, he suggested that sitting on the bench at United impeded his physical development.
"Obviously the question mark for any potential buyers is injuries but I just need a good run of games and I just didn't have that at Manchester United. I need to regularly train and play. There's been interest from all corners of the Earth, every nation you can think of - Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey. My ideal is the Premier League, I want to play in the Premier League - then it's whoever's the best team, then things like location, the deal, different things will play a part," the former Newcastle and Real Madrid man said.