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After spending three injury-plagued seasons with Manchester United, English international striker Michael Owen has signed with fellow Premier League club Stoke City.

United let Owen leave at the end of last season as he contract had expired and he was a free agent. It was reported that Sunderland and Liverpool were also interested in him.

However, Owen, who has also played with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle, didn’t seem to interest Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who thought the 32-year-old’s best years were behind him and that he’s injury prone.

The English Premier League requires each club to submit a roster of 25 players at the start of September, and it was unclear whether Stoke could sign Owen since the team already had signed 25 players. The Premier League released a statement on Sept. 5 though which said it had approved the deal. After the announcement, Owen took to his Twitter account and said the deal is now official and he can’t wait to start playing again.

Since Owen has missed many games over the years due to assortment of injuries, Stoke has signed him to a pay-as-you-play contract for one year. Owen’s signing was held up because of the new Premier League rules which were introduced a couple of years ago as a way to prevent teams from stockpiling their squads.

Teams are only allowed to sign free agents as long as they haven’t filled in their 25-man roster. Also a club can’t sign a free agent if it already has at least 25 senior professionals on their squad, meaning they can't drop somebody to make way for a free agent.

Stoke City let some players leave over the summer, such as Ricardo Fuller, Salif Diao and Jonathan Woodgate, but they club also brought in Maurice Edu, Michael Kightly, Charlie Adam, Geoff Cameron and Steven Nzonzi as senior pros.

Since the club had 25 seniors on their roster, Stoke had to make sure Owen was signed and named to the squad before handing in their player list. Peter Coates, the chairman of Stoke, said he feels Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made a mistake by letting Owen go and he believes the player will be out to prove it.

Coates said Owen is a natural-born goal scorer as well as a fine person and will be out to prove that he can still play the game at the top level. He said Owen wasn’t signed because of his name; he was signed because he can help the club and make the squad stronger.

Owen has scored 40 goals in 89 career games for the English national team and has 221 goals in 473 club games. He managed to find the back of the net 17 times in 52 appearances for Manchester United over the past three seasons.

Owen has always been a prolific goal scorer and when he played in the Spanish La Liga with Real Madrid he had the highest ratio of goals per minutes played. It’ll be interesting to see if he can stay injury free with Stoke.

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