Manchester United

Fergie Has His New Midfielder -Is It A Loan Deal, Though?

"Remember me?"

The moment you’ve all been waiting for is nigh. Yes, it’s the return of Owen Hargreaves. No? Nothing? You remember, the United midfielder who used to play for Bayern. Looks a bit like the beardy one out of Flight of the Conchords. Canadian feller.

Well, anyway, he’s back: in the running to play against West Brom on Saturday. In all seriousness, he’s had a truly horrendous time of it with injuries. Hargreaves moved to United in time for the start of the 2007-08 season, signing for £17million from Bayern Munich. He scored a crucial goal against Arsenal in the run-in to United’s successful Premiership campaign of that season: with Cristiano Ronaldo lining up a trademark powerhouse free-kick in front of the Stretford End, Hargreaves lofted it over the wall to give United a 2-1 lead.

His second season was hampered by injury: he went to Colorado to see knee-specialist Richard Steadman; and as a result, didn’t make enough appearances for a second successive league winner’s medal. The midfielder’s only contribution last season was a fleeting appearance as a late sub against Sunderland, and he hasn’t made a start for the club in over two years now.

It’s a cliché to say that a player coming back from such a long injury is ‘like a new signing’. And in this case, a touch inappropriate. I just can’t see Hargreaves ever fully getting over this injury. Which is a real shame, because he’s a great player, one of England’s best performers at the World Cup in Germany four years ago.

Perhaps ‘like a loan signing’ would be more appropriate.

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