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Newcastle May Lose Martins, Owen
Independent, June 21st, 2007 3:45PM

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Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce just found out Obafemi Martins, his other first-choice striker, also has a buyout clause in his contract. That means that both he and Michael Owen are free to leave for a set price, and there's nothing Allardyce or Newcastle can do about it.

At just 22, the highly-talented (not to mention experienced) Martins wouldn't be considered overpriced at $26 million, not by today's standards anyway. Juventus is understood to be interested in the Nigerian, who sources say would like to return to Italy. Questions about his personal life arose earlier this week after a car carrying him in Lagos, the Nigerian capital, was mysteriously hit by a series of bullets, though the striker was unharmed.

Meanwhile, Owen's $18 million release clause was triggered after Newcastle failed to qualify for Europe. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are all said to be interested in the England international, who's spent the better part of two years on the sidelines with various long-term injuries. Owen has not indicated whether or not he wants to remain at Newcastle, for which he's made just 14 appearances. If Owen were planning on staying, surely he would have stated his intention to do so, especially after club chairman Freddy Shepherd asked him to do so. It now looks like Owen will only stay if talks with one of the big three break down.

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