One upon a time Michael Owen was one of the most sought after strikers in Europe but now the player is not in demand anymore, even by the mid table clubs. The England international turns 28 today and while one would have supposed him to be at the peak of his footballing abilities, Owen is struggling to get himself fit into any decent club.
Manchester City’s takeover by the Thai billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra has gifted an unending cascade of funds for City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson but the Swede doesn’t want Owen in his team. Of course Manchester City were linked to the Newcastle United player but with Owen’s reputation of being prone to injury, the Thai owner has told Eriksson not to waste any money on the player.
Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce too isn’t exactly happy with Michael Owen. The player missed virtually the entire of last season after suffering a knee ligament tear during the 2006 World Cup and has been rocked by hernia problems this season too. Although he has performed decently for England during the last few games in his nation’s disastrous Euro 2008 qualifying campaign and has scored a few goals too for Newcastle United, it’s clear to all that Owen is already on the slide down the hill.
Big Sam is ready to offload the player although he knows more than anyone else perhaps that his team would then struggle to find strikers upfront. Obafemi Martins will miss 6 games for his commitment to the African Nations’ Cup in January and although the likes of James Milner and Mark Viduka will still be there, losing strikers for a team that has often failed to score wouldn’t be a great prospect for the manager.
But selling Owen would bring in some cash for Newcastle United and since club owner Mike Ashley is not likely to open the floodgates in the summer and pour money into Allardyce’s hands, Big Sam would of course like to get some decent cash now and spend that effectively in the summer. That he is aspiring to do so keeping the gun on Owen’s shoulders is not something that should be surprising. Since his departure to Real Madrid in the summer of 2004 and the subsequent return to the Premiership, Michael Owen has struggled to revive his good old days at Liverpool.
So is Owen’s career drawing to a close? It would be hard for anyone involved in football to deny Owen’s genius but his vulnerability to injuries and consistent inability to reinvent himself has led many to believe that Owen is past his prime. Can Owen rediscover his old touch?