Man United-Michael Owen: Why They Had to Sign Him

Bradley KingCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 11:  Michael Owen of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Middlesbrough at St James' Park on May 11, 2009 in Newcastle, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It is a transfer deal which would have been laughed off by Manchester United fans all over the world if it was predicted 12 months ago.

Manchester United will sign Michael Owen.

A decade ago he was the boy wonder.

Now he is, in many peoples eyes, a washed up ex-England international, blighted by injury. His career was—before today—destined to fizzle out without a lot of fuss, before he retreats to the racecourses and stables of the English countryside for some hippo-logical respite.

Those people might be right. But they might not be.

Manchester United had to sign Michael Owen. This summer United look set to lose not only their narcissistic, hotpants wearing, Paris Hilton bedding winger Cristiano Ronaldo, but are also prepared for the loss of the dogged Carlos Tevez.

Those two players alone contributed 40 goals to the Red Devils title winning season in 2008/2009. Where is Ferguson going to replace that amount of goals from?

He has been linked with the likes of Franck Ribery and Sergio Aguero, and completed the signing of Antonio Valencia earlier in the week. But none of these players have the ability to compensate for around a third of United’s total goal tally last season.

Ribery has scored 20 goals from the wing in his two seasons at Bayern Munich—an average return for a playmaking winger. He’s also pledged his future to current employers Bayern Munich. That is, unless the offer to become a Galactico in Spain is extended to him.

Atletico Madrid’s Aguero had a successful La Liga season last time round, scoring 17 league goals. But if he was to make the switch to the northeast of England it would take him time to adjust to the more physically demanding Premier League. That is time that the Champions do not have.

Michael Owen has had an abundance of Premier League experience over the past decade and more, playing almost 300 games for Liverpool and Newcastle. He will take no time to settle in to a massive club like United.

He has constantly scored goals no matter where he plays his football. Contrary to popular belief, even Owen’s scoring record at Newcastle was decent—26 goals in 71 league appearances.

Couple that with his heroics at Liverpool (an amazing 216 games and 157 goals) and throw his 40 international goals into the bargain—it can’t be argued that Owen was capable of scoring 20 goals per season.

And that is the question. Owen was capable of such goalscoring feats: Is he still?

There were moments last season where he showed he could still cut it. There aren’t too many top quality strikers in the current market. Owen was/is undoubtedly one of them.

That is why Manchester United had to take a gamble.

Now, if he can just stay fit…