Owen joins Man United

MANCHESTER: Michael Owen has joined English champions Manchester United on a two-year contract, the club announced here on Friday, in a remarkable turnaround for the injury-prone striker.

England forward Owen, 29, a free agent after his Newcastle contract expired last week, underwent a medical returning to United’s Carrington training ground to complete the shock deal. The move came after the only clubs interested in signing the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker appeared to be Stoke and Hull.

Owen underwent an examination on Thursday on the knee injury which sidelined him for much of his time at Newcastle. But United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has seen Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez leave Old Trafford in the close season, insisted signing Owen did not represent a gamble on his part.

“I had just begun to talk to other clubs when out of the blue Sir Alex phoned me on Wednesday, invited me to have breakfast with him next morning during which he told me that he wanted to sign me,” Owen said. “I agreed without a moment’s thought. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I intend to seize it with both hands.”