NEW Stoke striker Michael Owen has been cleared to embark on the next stage of his career in the English Premier League after being included in the Potters' 25-man squad.
The England international was a free agent following his release from Manchester United at the end of last season and has now agreed a one-year pay-as-you-play deal at the Britannia Stadium.
Owen, 32, (below) was unveiled as Stoke manager Tony Pulis' seventh summer signing but both the player and the club were made to sweat on a decision from the Premier League to confirm his eligibility.
But their fears were allayed when the Premier League released a statement yesterday afternoon which read: "The Premier League board has confirmed to Stoke City the registration of Michael Owen.
"Consequently he can be included in their 25-man playing squad."
Owen is believed to have signed a performance-related contract and follows Jamie Ness, Geoff Cameron, Michael Kightly, Maurice Edu, Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi into the club.
The ex-Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle forward had been linked with a return to Anfield but revealed on Twitter he is now ready for the start of his new challenge at the Britannia Stadium.
His Tweet read: "It's official! Deal done. I'm a Stoke player. Can't wait to get going."
Although Owen is available for selection for the next Premier League fixture, against champions Manchester City, he is unlikely to feature due to a lack of fitness.
The injury-prone attacker has been keeping himself in shape during the summer but has not spent pre-season with a club and will spend time on an individual training regime at Stoke's training ground.
He will then battle it out with Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch, Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones for a starting berth, with fellow front-man Mamady Sidibe excluded from Pulis' 25-man squad.