In a move that should end discussions about Michael Owen returning to Liverpool for at least another 2 years or so, Newcastle United have announced the signing of the England striker following his physical exam earlier today. From the Times :

Newcastle United pulled off a sensational transfer coup when they finally managed to persuade Michael Owen, the England forward, to keep his World Cup dreams alive on Tyneside.

In a move which dashed the hopes of former club Liverpool of securing the 25-year-old’s return, the Magpies completed their club record swoop – believed to be in the region of £16million – for the Real Madrid star to hand Graeme Souness, the Newcastle manager, a massive boost.

Owen underwent a medical this afternoon after agreeing a four-year deal and the club has now confirmed that they will present him to the media at a press conference at St James’ Park at noon tomorrow and then afterwards to the fans.

“Bringing Michael to St James’ Park will rank alongside the signing of Alan Shearer as my proudest moment at Newcastle United,” chairman Freddy Shepherd told the club’s official website.

(that’ll be £37.99 please, though the lettering is extra)

Presumably a prouder moment than being quoted as calling the women of Newcastle “dogs” or bragging about the mark-up on replica shirts.

Aston Villa have found sufficient cover in the wake Martin Laursen’s knee problems, signing PSV Eindhoven defender Wilfred Bouma (above) in £3.5 million transfer deal. Bouma will join other recent arrivals including Milan Barros, Kevin Phillips and Patrick Berger, as David O’Leary shows he’s as adept at spending money as he was at Leeds.