Monday, 27 August 2012

Where The Hell Is Michael G-Owen!

I dunno about you, but there's something extremely sad about watching a player once billed as 'England's greatest striker'; hawking himself around every Premier League club in the hope of getting a contract before the end of the summer transfer window.

But unfortunately, that's the situation we now have with former Liverpool front man Michael Owen. No longer a young whippet, but a 32-year-old with a chequered injury history and quiet questions about his interest in the game overall.

After being released from Manchester United at the end of last season, Owen has been in the press all summer.  Whether that be to prove his fitness, a la, Owen Hargreaves or to discuss how he refuses to drop down a tier into a Championship.

The forward blew onto the scene as a teenager while playing for Liverpool and England, letting the world know who he was with that goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. And it was great for a while, particularly after Robbie Fowler left the North West club. Over eight years; he played in 216 league games and scored 118 goals.  He was heralded as the next messiah on Merseyside after previous goal machines; Ian Rush and Fowler.

The injury worries were already prevalent with a couple of spells out due to hamstring issues, something that troubles many footballers who start their careers fully before they have finished growing.  Steven Gerrard Cesc Fabregas have both suffered similar problems.

But it wasn't until he went to Real Madrid that the light of his career started to dim.  Although he was at peak fitness for most of his career in Spain, he often found himself as a substitute which then drew musings from the Spanish press that he wasn't up to the job.

But I'm sure even he will agree that to the watching eye, since 2006, his career has been in some kind of slow-motion free fall.

He came back to the UK to join Newcastle United at a time when they probably needed him more than he needed them, but after four years it appeared as if the fans paid for his train ticket to the other side of the Pennines - Manchester United.

When I really think about it, what did he do at either club? Except score the winning goal for United in the Manchester derby.  He played 71 games in his four years at Newcastle United, an average of 18 per season.  Not really what you want from a guy you paid a club record £16.8 million for. It means each league game he played cost the Magpies a staggering £236,620.

So what now for the 2001 Ballon d'Or winner? Well not much if the fans are anything to go by. I did a quick survey today - on Twitter - and except for one delusional fan who said Arsenal should buy him (!), no one seems to want him.

Aston Villa, Charlton, even West Ham fans are saying they wouldn't be happy to see the former England international at their club.

Not only do they see him as a potential expensive flop with his injured past but many feel as if his passion for the game is gone.  The fact that he has pretty much ruled out a move south also doesn't do him any favours, and I'm sure I don't need to mention 'the horses'.

Those that would, would only take him if he joined on a pay-as-you-play deal.  Just today, Norwich City boss, Chris Hughton, said he had no interest in the player.

It appears the general consensus is he's not good enough for the Premier League any more; and no where near committed enough for the Championship.

Yet the man himself declares he will 'have a new club by the end of the week'.  I, for one wish him well, as long as he stays away from the Emirates, that is!

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