As many United fans will be aware, Michael Owen’s contract is due to expire come Summer and is yet to be offered a new deal.
As such he has made a couple of statements regarding his intent to stay at the club and fight to prove his worth at the club.
He is quoted as saying “I’ve made no secret that, in an ideal world, I would extend my stay.
“I would love to play here for longer but I will just wait and see what the club say. We’ve not held any talks yet”.
Admittedly, when he first joined the club, I was optimistic. I felt that with a run of good fitness, the potential for success was high, and the risks involved were less than would have been considering he was signed on a free transfer as opposed to spending millions on one of Europe’s finest talent.
However, his career at United has stalled due to injury. Whenever there has been much hope that he was back to full health and the glimpses of form of old that could be seen, there has quickly followed a setback. He has had his moments, perhaps the most memorable being his last minute winner at Old Trafford against Manchester City, to seal a 4-3 victory or perhaps his hat trick against Wolfsburg.
Clearly, the talent and knack for scoring goals had not been lost, but time and again he has been held back by injuries, just as it seemed progress had been made. One can see the potential for bargain hunting, and the romantic idea of taking a former Liverpool hero and resurrecting his career at the top of the game when many would have written him off. But it seems those ideals have not been able to come to fruition and although the contribution at times has been worthwhile, the effect that was hoped for, has not come to light as planned.
Now, of course, with the emergence of one Javier Hernandez who seems to be keeping the league’s top scorer in Berbatov out of the first team, it seems Owen’s place in the pecking order has dropped a place. And with the returns of loaned out players such as Macheda, Diouf and Welbeck, it is hard to see where Owen may fit into Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans, even though the returning loanees may well find themselves without a space in the United squad themselves.
Indeed, it is not hard to see why Owen is keeping his hopes alive of retaining a place on United’s books. In the twilight of his career, the possibility of staying at the top of the game with the chance of silverware and success is one that many would not give up easily. Perhaps it is because he believes such opportunities will not come to the fore after he moves on and his place at United represents his last chance at success.
Or perhaps he is just grasping at the dying embers of his injury plagued playing days, hoping to keep going and prove many wrong when all bust the most optimistic will have written him off. Whatever his reasoning, I do not think the services of Michael Owen will be retained, unless a place mostly occupied on the bench is a prospect he is content with and a position that the United management are happy to see him occupy. Realistically, however, I think it likely he will be moved on. There will always be the memories that provided glimpses of the player he could have been for United……
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