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Sunderland Close In On January Swoop For Manchester United Outcast Michael Owen - Report

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Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is reportedly looking to lure Manchester United’s Michael Owen to the Stadium of Light.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid man has endured a lengthy time on the sidelines and looks to have become no higher than fourth choice striker for Sir Alex Ferguson, following Javier Hernandez’s arrival at Old Trafford.

Now a report from The Mirror claims that the Black Cats are ‘desperately close’ to landing the ex-England striker’s signature on a £25,000-a-week deal.

Owen’s absence from the squad has left the striker hungry for action and goals, and looking for a move away from Manchester that would enable him to become a regular starter in the Premier League once more.

Ferguson gave the 31-year-old a brief run-out as a substitute against his former club Liverpool last week in the FA Cup, but that may not be enough to persuade Owen to stay, despite the manager claiming that he plans to involve Owen in the future.

Bruce is looking to bring European football to Wearside next season by finishing high enough this term to qualify, and feels that the class and experience of Owen will help propel Sunderland onto that next level.

The 50-year-old manager enjoyed a nine-year stay at Old Trafford himself from 1987 until 1996 and has already taken striker Danny Welbeck on loan from his former club. Now he is hoping that Sir Alex will be lenient regarding Owen’s contract situation as the player joined United for free when his contract at Sunderland's rivals Newcastle had expired.

Ferguson will need to curry favour with Bruce if he aims to sign Sunderland’s star youngster Jordan Henderson, with speculation rife that the Red Devils will make a bid for the highly-rated midfielder in the summer.

A source close to Owen claimed last night: “This is not about money – Michael will get a fair contract but is more interested in playing and scoring.”

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