As reported in the Daily Mail, Michael Owen is again searching for a new club after his release from Manchester United where his contract expired.
The 32-year-old arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2009 after his release from Newcastle, a move which surprised many as his injury record was already in question. Whilst at United he scored 17 goals in 52 appearances (only 18 of which were starts) but this season he made just four appearances in another injury plagued season for the former England striker.
Owen however will be remembered fondly by many at United for his injury-time winner in a 4-3 victory over fierce rivals Manchester City in September 2009, a goal which warmed over the clubs fans after his connections with Liverpool. Other notable highlights in his time at United were scoring a hat-trick against Wolfsburg in the Champions League, collecting a Premier League winner’s medal and also scoring in the 2010 Carling Cup final against Aston Villa which United went on to win.
The striker has had a varied career that saw him prosper with Liverpool and England before making a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2004. Since his return back to England after just one season in La Liga, Owen has been plagued by injuries which have limited his playing time significantly, also tarnishing his reputation as one of the most clinical finishers in the business.
Even though he decided against keeping the striker, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson praised Owen for his time at the club. ‘Michael is a consummate professional and was an influential figure in our dressing room. Unfortunately he had no luck with his injury this season. Michael’s record of goals per game is exceptional and we wish him all the best for the future.’
So what is next for the veteran finisher? Here we look at three potential clubs that could make summer moves for the player.
Manager Tony Pulis has been quoted as saying he is ready to shake up his squad this summer as they look to consolidate foundations they have built to stay in the Premier League. It is thought in 2009 Stoke were one of the interested parties in signing Owen and they could again look to strike a deal with the player. It was only last summer Pulis moved quickly to bring in a player who had also been ravaged by injury through his career, Jonathan Woodgate. He was brought into the club as a free transfer and given a pay-as-you-play contract with the club – something they could look to do with Owen.
With finances tight for manager David Moyes, signing Owen on a free transfer could be great business for the Toffees this summer as they search for a back-up striker for Nikica Jelavic. As a boyhood Evertonian, Owen could favour a move to Goodison Park this summer over any other potential offers he may receive – a move which will no doubt further increase the hatred coming his way from his old friends at Liverpool.
Managerless Aston Villa could also be in the running for Owen in the summer. After narrowly avoiding relegation this season, the lack of depth in the striker department at Villa will no doubt worry any incoming manager to the club. Owen could provide some added class to the depleted front-line at Villa Park who only have one recognised finisher in Darren Bent.
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