Michael Owen Set to Finalise 1-Year Deal with Stoke City

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2012

ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25:  Michael Owen of Manchester United celebrates scoring to make it 2-0 during the Carling Cup fourth round match between Aldershot Town and Manchester United at the EBB Stadium, Recreation Ground on October 25, 2011 in Aldershot, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Michael Owen's future seems it will be based at the Britannia Stadium (via ESPN).

All summer, the former Manchester United man has been linked with various clubs. Everton and Stoke City have been mentioned throughout, with the latter now closing in on a deal.

Speculation took a surprise turn over the last week as Owen was linked with a return to Liverpool. Reports of a second spell at Anfield have intensified after the club let Andy Carroll join West Ham United on a season-long loan.

Brendan Rodgers and the Fenway Sports Group couldn't secure a replacement before the transfer deadline kicked in, leaving Liverpool with a lack of attacking options. After the recent 2-0 loss to Arsenal, fans of the club will be wondering who is going to offer Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini respite in the coming months.

Owen's agreement with Stoke is set to run for an initial year. If he proves his fitness and contributes significantly to the team, it is likely his time at the club will be extended. A pay-as-you-play contract will be offered with the incentive of earning regular bonuses.

While the England international is still a world-class finisher, his fitness remains an enigma. He made just one substitute appearance in the Premier League last season and has started just seven games in all competitions across the last two years.

If Owen can remain fit, he'll be a huge asset to the Stoke side. Currently, much of the team's play is centred around the aerial prowess of Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters. Both are hard-working forwards who had a combined total of 17 Premier League goals last season.

Tony Pulis is looking to add a different threat to his squad. Owen's ability to make darting runs past defenders is something the Potters currently lack. Owen will bring a wealth of experience to a side that is likely to be battling in the bottom half of the table once more.

Owen's addition to the team will finally give Peter Crouch an out-and-out striking partner to work with, something the Stoke giant would love to see (via ESPN).

Is Michael Owen making the right decision by joining Stoke? Should he return to Liverpool or join their Merseyside rivals Everton? Let me know below.