Michael Owen surprised it took Newcastle so long to break his record fee

CHESTERFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11: TV Pundit and former player Michael Owen looks on before the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifier between England U21 and Andorra U21 at the Proact Stadium on October 11, 2018 in Chesterfield, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Ex-English striker Michael Owen admits he was surprised it took Newcastle United over 13 years to break the record transfer fee they paid for him.

The Magpies signed Owen in the summer of 2005 from Real Madrid in a club-record £16m deal, in what eventually proved to be an injury-plagued four years at St James’ Park for the striker.

Now Newcastle have finally broken the fee they forked out for Owen in 2005 by signing Miguel Almiron for £21m from MLS champions Atlanta United on deadline day for the January transfer window.

“I suppose I was,” Owen told Daily Star on whether or not he was surprised it took Newcastle so long to break his transfer fee.

“My fee was about £16 million – it gets reported as a couple of different figures – but you would have thought even in this day and age that moderate players can go for similar figures.

“I know they sold players for a lot more and they worked the transfer window well in certain periods of time. I remember when they signed a couple of French players and sold a couple of them on for decent money – [Moussa] Sissoko being a good example.

“Every single time I tend to read an article about a Newcastle transfer I’d get a mention in it, so hopefully they’ll leave me out now.”

Paraguay international Almiron will be expected to help Newcastle out immediately in the midfield as Rafael Benitez’s side look to escape relegation for the second time out.

But Owen is confident that Almiron, who managed 22 goals and 21 assists in 70 appearances for Atlanta, will quickly adapt to the physical nature of the Premier League.

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Owen added: “I’ve watched a bit of him and he looks a talented player.

“He’s obviously a flair player, scores goals, creates goals, has got a good left foot.

“He’s been successful in the American league, [but] whether that can translate is the big question.

“He doesn’t look like a huge physical presence, he’s more technical. We just hope in the Premier League, with the pace and the physical aspect of the game, he still manages to show his ability because he’s certainly got a lot of it.”

Owen himself could only manage a total of 79 appearances for Newcastle before leaving in 2009 for Manchester United with 30 goals to his name.

After helping United claim the 2010/11 Premier League title, the former Liverpool star left for Stoke City in 2012 and retired a year later.