Saturday, 4 July 2009

"...there's always Michael Owen!"

No more than 48 hours after those very words were uttered by my lips, in a phone conversation with one of my many University housemates, had my possible 'tempting of fate' occurred; Michael Owen had become a Red Devil.

The conversation that took place began with us discussing our landlord, then onto my desire to purchase a Manchester United season ticket which I couldn't possibly afford, and then we discussed the team itself and the issue of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez heading for the exits, and Antonio Valenica coming in the opposite direction.

In my eyes, even as a Manchester United fan who has on more than one occasion been proven to never doubt Sir Alex Ferguson and his decision making, the idea of Michael Owen, who since the World Cup in 2006 has had uncountable injury problems and not to mention is a former Liverpool icon, signing for United was somewhat of a gamble.

Sir Alex, though, has previous in this sort of area. Look what he done to Eric Cantona, who wasn't a regular at Leeds and had a bit of a reputation as being a tough man to please and contain, became a Old Trafford legend; a name that will live in infamy at the Theatre of Dreams.

On a smaller scale you can also use the example of Henrik Larsson, who, despite coming off the back of a serious injury, made a considerable contribution to United during his three month loan spell.

Both example's were, without any question, gambles; gambles that paid off.

Despite Owen's injury plagued 2008/09 season he still managed to score 10 goals. Not bad for someone who had to battle through a number of injury setbacks, for a team who ultimately were relegated to the Championship.

After his lucrative £110,000 a week (reported) contract had expired, Sir Alex saw the chance of carrying out what could be a very astute piece of business, signing the former Liverpool and Real Madrid star for the pricey sum of nothing, and on a pay as you play contract.

You cannot deny that Owen is a born goalscorer, and as the saying goes 'form is temporary, class is permanent' which he has proven over the years, even during his less than encouraging spell with Newcastle, proving that he still has that killer strikers instinct, something he has shown year in year out for club, and for country.

Owen still harbours hopes of getting back into Fabio Capello's England squad, with the 2010 World Cup in South Africa just one more win away, and where better to be playing at club level than at the home of the English and World Champions, where chances will be created in abundance?

Ever since Ruud Van Nistelrooy left the Old Trafford club United have been trying to find an out and out goal scorer to replace him. Wayne Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo and more recently Dimitar Berbatov have managed to make this void seem minimal at best, scoring countless goals in United's endless pursuit of silver wear between them.

Owen will, hopefully, fill that void, and will, if fit, hope to be a key member of the United strike force, as they try and replace the 30-40 goals a season that Ronaldo and Tevez provided them.

Despite my original pessimism about the move, I must say that in the days that led up to the signing, and that have now preceded them, I, personally, am more and more upbeat about the possibilities of Rooney and Owen reuniting, in the hope that they can strike up a world beating partnership for club, and maybe for country again.

So far, of the reported £100 million cash pot that United have at their disposal, they have only spent £16 million, all of that on, Ecuadorian, Valencia from Wigan Athletic. United would probably like another striker, another winger and another left back before the season begins against Birmingham City on August 16th, but, so far, have seemingly missed out on their main targets this summer of Tevez, Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, the latter two, presumably, following Ronaldo to Madrid, and Tevez, presumably, going down the road to Manchester City.

Some might see Owen's signing as a desperate act after missing out on their main targets to Real Madrid's ridiculous millions, but as another one of my housemates at University said to me 'In Fergie we trust'...who am I to argue with a man who has won 23 major domestic and European trophies in 23 years?

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