Sir Alex lines up surprise bid to lure Michael Owen

MANCHESTER United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is on the brink of securing a shock deal to bring former European footballer of the year Michael Owen to Old Trafford on a free transfer.<br /><br />Owen, whose career has been blighted by injury of late, is a free agent after his contract with Newcastle United ended on Tuesday and has been seeking a move away from the relegated club.<br /><br />The striker, who made his name on the world stage with a stunning goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, is almost certain to be recruited on a &ldquo;pay-as-you-play&rdquo; deal, due to his recent fitness difficulties.<br /><br />The diminutive forward will have to accept a significant pay cut from the &pound;115,000 he earned while at St James&rsquo; Park but is believed to be desperate for the chance to resurrect his England career.<br /><br />Two of last year&rsquo;s promoted clubs, Stoke and Hull, have gone public with their intention to sign Owen, but the England international now looks likely to fill the void at Old Trafford left by the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez, who is expected to sign for Manchester City.