Toon boss Sam Allardyce has paved the way for Michael Owen's return to Liverpool by saying he cannot keep him if the Reds offer £9m.
Fit-again England international striker Owen can quit St James' Park if a club triggers his release clause after the Magpies failed to qualify for Europe at the end of last season.
And Allardyce, who signed Aussie ace Mark Viduka last week and is hoping to complete a deal for Man City midfielder Joey Barton soon, admits he may have to start planning for life without Owen.
He said: "If Michael wants to leave there's nothing I can do about it, especially if another club triggers his release clause.
"At the moment we are benefiting from a release clause to get Joey Barton. But we could also suffer because of Michael's clause," Allardyce told the News of the World.
Should Owen move on for £9million it would represent a loss of £8million plus an estimated £10million in wages on the former Real Madrid hitman who has been restricted to just 14 games and seven goals since arriving from the Bernabeu in August 2005.
Meanwhile, Kop hero Robbie Fowler could link up with David Beckham at LA Galaxy this summer, according to reports.