Japanese side JEF United Chiba have refused to rule out the possibility of making a shock move for England and Newcastle striker Michael Owen, but stressed no transfer targets have yet been set by new manager Alex Miller.
The struggling J-League side were said to be considering an approach for the 28-year-old striker, according to a report in Japanese daily Nikkan Sports.
Former Liverpool first-team coach Miller was recently unveiled as JEF United’s new manager and is keen to add to his squad when the transfer window opens.
JEF United are currently bottom of the J-League with just one victory and Owen, who has yet to agree a new contract extension with Newcastle, was reported as being the ideal solution to their goalscoring problems.
JEF United have admitted Owen would be a great signing but stressed no approach has been made.
“We are considering adding players to our squad when the transfer windows open this summer,” JEF United spokesman Kentaro Shiga said.
“However, we haven’t come to the point where we can name the possible candidates, including Owen.
“It would be great if we can have a player like Owen with us as that will increase the attention in our club.
“But we have just started under our new manager and are still working to put things together in the new administration.”
Newcastle declined to comment on the speculation.
Meanwhile, Toon boss Kevin Keegan is confident winger James Milner will be fit for the start of next season.
The 22-year-old had been due to return to the Magpies’ side against Everton on Sunday after two months out with a foot injury but suffered a slight setback in training.
“He got right back to being ready to play but when he was shooting last week he felt a slight twinge,” Keegan told www.nufc.co.uk.
“There is a slight problem with his ankle and he’s had an injection. He missed the Everton game because of that but that was only so we can have another good look.
“We will assess it before he goes off on holiday so that he does not come back for pre-season with the same problem.
“We have to look at the long-term picture with people like James.”