Stoke sweat over Owen

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Stoke were sweating on Premier League approval on their last-gasp bid to sign Michael Owen last night after the striker finally agreed to join them.

The Potters were set not to learn until today whether the move would be ratified by the Premier League board.

It was unclear whether Stoke had provided the relevant documents for the signature of free agent Owen before or after the 4pm deadline for clubs to submitted their 25-man squad lists.

The uncertainty meant the Premier League were only able to release details of those lists for 19 of their 20 clubs, with the Potters’ still pending.

It is understood Stoke would otherwise be prevented from filling Owen’s spot with another player if his move was rejected.

Clubs are able to sign free agents outside the transfer window but are only able to field them in the Premier League if they have previously registered fewer than 25 players.

The Premier League said in a statement: “The Premier League board is currently considering an application from Stoke City to register a player and, subsequently, their squad list will be confirmed at a later date.”

Stoke moved for Owen after he was released by Manchester United but the the 32-year-old appeared reluctant to entertain their advances amid suggestions he was waiting for a bigger club to pounce.