He may have been fortunate enough to have played for illustrious clubs such as Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, yet Michael Owen found himself in the unwanted position of being without a club following the closure of the transfer window last Friday.
All is far from lost for the 32 year old however, with a string of clubs rumoured to be prepared to take a gamble on the injury prone striker.
The lure of Michael Owen is that, since his departure from Manchester United in July of this year he has been a free agent, so no transfer fee would be involved in discussions. The gamble of signing Owen is that, for all his talent as a natural goalscorer, Owen’s career has been unfortunately blighted by injuries, so there is no guarantee of how many games you can get out of him in a season.
Michael Owen has stated his desire to remain in the Premier League, and he certainly isn’t short of potential options. With Tuesday’s 5PM deadline for Premier League clubs to name their 25 man squads for the coming season fast approaching, a late scramble for the former Liverpool man’s signature is likely to ensue. So who is prepared to take the gamble on Owen?
It is not too long ago that the idea of Owen rejoining Liverpool seemed a little crazy, yet this seems like an increasingly possible proposition. After the loaning of Andy Carroll to West Ham and the failure to bring in a replacement due to a lack of communication between the board and manager, Liverpool are desperately short of attacking options.
This was highlighted by their 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal at the weekend. Brendan Rodgers now urgently needs a striker, and with the transfer window shut, he may turn to Owen as a last resort.
It is likely that Owen would jump at the chance to return to the club that he enjoyed his best spell at, and with the likes of Gerrard and Carragher still firmly in the Anfield picture he would have no problems settling back in.
Rodgers may still wish to look elsewhere, with Owen’s fitness clearly a big issue, but don’t be surprised to see him wearing the red of Liverpool once more in the not too distant future. The question has to be raised however, whether this transfer would be seen more as a move to appease the fans as opposed to footballing reasons, and with the state Liverpool currently find themselves in, there can be no time for sentiment affecting Rodgers’ judgement.
- Stoke City
Stoke have been heavily linked with Owen all summer, and manager Tony Pulis has made no secret of his desire to bring the striker to the Brittania Stadium. Stoke may seem like an attractive option for Owen, primarily for the clubs location.
It is common knowledge that Owen is a big fan of horse racing, and his own horse racing stables lie just a few miles away from the Brittania. If this alone isn’t enough to lure Owen to sign for Stoke, then perhaps the opportunity to form a partnership with Peter Crouch might be the persuasion that Owen needs.
Owen is the ideal striker to play off Crouch’s knock downs and flick ons, and if he manages to stay fit then he could prove a real bonus addition to the club. Stoke will have been confident of persuading Owen to sign up, but now Liverpool’s interest is gaining momentum, the outcome is no longer a foregone conclusion.
Having already spent four years at Newcastle, there is a distinct possibility that Owen may yet make a return to the North East, albeit with the Toon’s big rivals. O’Neil has confirmed that he has expressed an interest in Owen, yet this move may not go down too well amongst the Sunderland faithful, due to his allegiance with Newcastle.
The summer signings of Fletcher from Wolves and Saha from Tottenham mean that Owen would find first team football limited at the Stadium of Light, and the prospect of signing for Stoke or Liverpool makes more logical sense .