Shearer: Join us in relegation zone Mike

According to Newcastle skipper Alan Shearer, Michael Owen would be a hero if he became Shearer’s team-mate at the Geordie club.

Shearer says he’s been on the phone to Owen repeatedly over recent weeks, and is hopeful his persuasion has done the trick with the player. Speaking to BBC’s Five Live, Shearer said: "It doesn’t take a genius to work out who we want. We have three days left to try to convince him to come here. We’re still in there fighting for him. I know if he came here he would be loved. They love their goalscorers up here and he would be a hero."

Shearer himself turned down Manchester United twice, once to join Blackburn and once to join Newcastle, and says that Owen would enjoy his popularity at St James’s Park: "I know better than anyone what reception he would get here. I’ve had several phone conversations with him but I don’t have to tell him what passionate supporters we are. In the end he’ll make his own mind up and will do what is best for himself."

In fact there may be three days left to persuade the player, but the most off-putting aspect for Owen will be the way that four match-days have gone for Newcastle. Languishing in the relegation zone in the early table, the Toon have managed just one point in those four games. If Owen did sign for Newcastle, he could find himself a hero with a second-division team. Newcastle finished fourteenth last season and don’t seem to be making any improvements. Graeme Souness is notoriously bad at dealing with players, upsetting many during his years as a manager. What he did to Liverpool fans by selling his stories to the Sun after his heart problems as Liverpool boss means he’s the most disliked Liverpool fan in their history. Even if Liverpool fans decided to forgive him for that, they could never forgive him for starting the slide that Liverpool are only now starting to recover from.

Newcastle’s best hope of signing Owen might have been by letting Souness go – but with just 60 hours left until the deadline Owen will only be persuaded if Liverpool change their mind and give up on the player.

Owen is back in England today, and is said to be talking to both clubs. Despite what some reports are claiming, the Reds don’t need to sell to buy Owen. That’s because Liverpool know how much they want to pay for their former striker, and they won’t move much higher than that amount.