Former Newcastle United flop reveals unique Liverpool contract clause

The former England striker has opened up on his move to Tyneside.

Former Newcastle United striker Michael Owen has revealed a unique clause in his Magpies contract would have allowed him to return to former club Liverpool.

With speculation over a move to Anfield dominating the headlines, the former England frontman moved to St James Park from Real Madrid in a then-club record £17million deal in August 2005.

Owen scored his first Magpies goal in a 3-0 win at Blackburn Rovers just weeks later and netted a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at West Ham United in December of the same season.

However, his maiden season on Tyneside came to an abrupt end when he suffered a metatarsal a fortnight later and worse was to follow during the following summer.

Owen was selected as part of Sven Goran Eriksson’s England squad for the 2006 World Cup but damaged his anterior cruciate ligament and missed almost the entirety of the following season.

The striker hit form in sporadic patches over the following two seasons but will be remembered as Magpies captain when the club suffered their first ever relegation from the Premier League in May 2009.

He departed less than a month later when his contract came to an end - but Owen has now revealed his exit from Tyneside could have come far earlier if Liverpool had opted to invoke a clause in his deal.

Owen told Off the Ball: “I went to Newcastle on the proviso that I could put in the contract that, at the end of every season, I could go back to Liverpool for a set fee.

“That looked as if it was going to come true after the first year, but then I did my knee in the World Cup and it never happened.

“At the end of every summer, I was on the phone to all of them and so was Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard trying to push things through and trying to get me back but, of course, time moves on.

“Torres had signed and Suarez signs so they never really needed me back at that point, which is fair enough. I made the decision to go to Madrid so there’s absolutely no hard feelings.”

Owen went on to join Manchester United before ending his career at Stoke City in 2013.