EPL clear Owen to play for Stoke City; Del Piero joins Australian team

Former England striker Michael Owen is hoping to receive clearance for his planned move to Stoke City.

Story highlights

  • English Premier League approve transfer of Michael Owen to Stoke City
  • The 32-year-old free agent signed on Tuesday after last Friday's transfer deadline
  • He has a one-year contract and will be paid according to number of appearances
  • Former Italy striker Alessandro Del Piero confirms his move to Sydney FC

Prolific striker Michael Owen was confirmed as a Stoke City player on Wednesday after the English Premier League approved his transfer.

Owen was a free agent after being released by Manchester United at the end of last season and had been linked with a number of clubs.

But the 32-year-old opted for Stoke, the deal completed right on the Tuesday deadline for clubs to register players to be part of their 25-man English Premier League squads.

He was made to sweat until the EPL board ruled he was eligible, leaving Owen to express his relief on his Twitter blog.

"It's official! Deal done. I'm a Stoke player. Can't wait to get going," he tweeted.

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Owen, who has agreed a one-year deal, will be paid according to the number of appearances he makes.

He has scored 149 goals in the EPL, making him the league's equal sixth highest scorer since its inception in 1992.

But he is seeking to re-establish his career after failing to make an impact at Manchester United, where he scored 17 goals in 49 appearances spread across three seasons -- most of those in cup competitions or as a substitute.

There had been speculation that Owen would rejoin his first club Liverpool, where he scored 18 goals in his first full EPL season and went on to notch 179 in 306 appearances.

Owen, who also played for Spanish club Real Madrid before an injury-ravaged return to England with Newcastle, is England's fourth-highest goal scorer with 40 from 89 international appearances.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers is looking for a new striker after letting England international Andy Carroll join EPL rivals West Ham on loan for this season.

Carroll made an influential debut in Saturday's 3-0 win over Fulham but went off late with a hamstring injury that will rule him out for six weeks.

Liverpool had been linked with another free agent in former Italy international Alessandro Del Piero, but the 37-year-old confirmed on Wednesday that he will be joining Australian club Sydney FC.

The former Juventus captain told reporters that Liverpool had been one of the clubs interested, but explained on his website why he decided to move Down Under to the lesser-known A-League as one of its marquee players.

"They really wanted to have me there. They weren't the only ones, but the project they presented, seemed to be specially tailored for me -- it won me over both as an athlete and a person," said the veteran striker, who has agreed a two-year contract.

"I was lucky to win everything during my career and to end it in Italy winning once again with the team of my life, Juventus. I was looking for something new, something different, something that wouldn't have things in common with my past, a totally new experience. And I have found it in Sydney."

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