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FOOTBALL Al Shabab hint at ‘co-operation’ with Michael Owen

But Dubai club reiterate they won’t be signing the former England striker

By Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter
June 28, 2012
Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Former England striker Michael Owen won’t be playing for Al Shabab next season, but the club hasn’t ruled out “other areas of co-operation” between both parties.

Free agent Owen, 32, made headlines on Tuesday after Al Shabab tweeted that the former Real Madrid and Manchester United star’s agent was in Dubai to negotiate a deal with the Al Mamza-based outfit.

But this was played down by the club’s vice-president, Khalid Bu Humaid, who told Gulf News that Owen was well past his prime.

“We listened to the agent and talked about other areas of co-operation,” said Bu Humaid, who wouldn’t elaborate on what form that co-operation could take. “Owen just isn’t in our headhunt. The guy [agent] came and we spoke about future co-operation.

“It was a good meeting. No hard feelings. But Michael Owen won’t be wearing an Al Shabab shirt next season.”

With Brazilian striker Jociel Ferraira Da Silva and Uzbeki midfielder Azizbek Haydarov already confirmed as two of their four foreign players for next season, Al Shabab still need to replace injured Chilean midfielder Carlos Villaneuva and outgoing Brazilian striker Welker Keiza.

While Owen isn’t in the club’s plans, Bu Humaid said they were closing in on an unnamed Argentinian currently plying his trade in Brazil’s second division, as well targets in Spain and Portugal. These players are not on the same level as Owen, said Bu Humaid, but they are younger, have more potential and are within the club’s budget.

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