Talk about being handed a career lifeline. Instead of getting one last go in the Premier League with Everton, Aston Villa, or Hull City, former Liverpool star Michael Owen is reportedly getting the golden opportunity of golden opportunities to get his last hurrah at the top.
If you’re one of the people who hit up your favorite sportsbook and bet on Owen to land at Manchester United before the odds were slashed yesterday, then you’re looking like a genius right now, though you might need to hold off on your celebrations until everything’s official and we can add him to our summer transfer lists.
Of course, there’s a lot more news to talk about besides Owen’s potential return to the northwest, and we’ve got the Owen news and much more in this morning’s roundup.
Owen To Ink Manchester United Deal
After Manchester United ‘missed out’ on Lyon’s Karim Benzema, there were, as expected, many stories on Thursday devoted to United’s striker search.
Well, it looks like United are going to land a high-profile forward.
Villa? (Tribal Football)
Aguero? (The Mirror)
Huntelaar? (Tribal Football)
Fabiano? (Tribal Football)
Maybe, maybe, maybe, and maybe, but if one of them does come to Old Trafford, they’ll be coming in the door after none other than Michael Owen – if the former Liverpool star passes his medical, that is.
Analysis: Some are going to say that United are being desperate after losing Ronaldo and Tevez and missing out on Benzema, but this is a move that makes perfect sense. To say the least, you can do a lot worse than Owen, even if he is injury-prone and nearing 30. If Owen can stay and take advantage of a golden opportunity, it’ll pay dividends for both parties. Owen can earn an extended contract past the initial one-year deal, and United could come out saving a lot of money.
If it works, Sir Alex Ferguson will look like a genius. If it doesn’t, then it’ll be an opportunity missed for Owen, but it won’t cost United financially. Besides, this doesn’t exactly rule them out of the hunt for another scoring option, because United still do have a hole to fill, and it could well put United’s focus now on Aguero, who’d fill more of a support role for Rooney/Owen/Berbatov. At any rate, this is a low-risk move for someone who, despite the unflattering injury history, is a proven commodity in the Premier League and in Europe.
Chelsea Reject Man City’s Terry Bid
Chelsea have rejected Manchester City’s £30m bid for club and England captain John Terry. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Well hey, no harm in trying, right?
Spurs Must Pay Up For Bastos
If Tottenham want to land Lille star Michel Bastos, they’re going to have to pay £12m to land the 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: Judging by the way he played last season, when he scored 14 league goals and assisted on 11 more, he’s well worth the £12m.
Everton Move For Dempsey?
Everton could make a move for Fulham forward Clint Dempsey. Dempsey has a year left o his current contract, and he’s turned down Fulham’s offer of a new two-year deal. (The Sun)
Analysis: Dempsey showed just what he’s capable of in scoring three goals in his last three matches at the Confederations Cup, and that performance might have pushed his value up some if Fulham do open up the possibility of selling him this summer. But with him shaping up to be a big part of Fulham’s plans once again, I think they’ll try to hold on to him and do their best to work out a new deal.
Aston Villa Linked With Berg
Aston Villa are the latest club to be linked with FC Groningen striker Marcus Berg. The 22-year-old Swede could be available for £8.5m. (Tribal Football)
Analysis: Villa do need to add some scoring options, and Groningen’s asking price for Berg is well within their budget.
Birmingham Make Vieira Offer
Analysis: The money’s nice, but at this point in his career, I’m not sure Vieira would be all that interested in playing for a club in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Wigan Sign Thomas
Wigan have signed Honduran midfielder Hendry Thomas from Deportivo Olimpia on a three-year deal. (Daily Mail)
Analysis: If the successes of bringing Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa to Wigan are any indication, then this one will be another job well done for Wigan.
Sunderland Eye Hunt and Suazo
Sunderland are eying moves for Reading star Stephen Hunt and Moterrey’s Chilean striker Humberto Suazo. (The Sun)
Analysis: With Tottenham reportedly looking for way too much for Darren Bent, Suazo could be a cheaper but equally as productive (or more productive) option. He’s basically scored for fun wherever he’s been the last several years, and Sunderland could certainly use someone with that kind of eye for goal. It’d also be good to add someone who could set up opportunities for him, and that’s where Hunt comes in. Might be more of a battle for Hunt, with Everton also having been linked with him, but that’s what acting quickly is for.
Ribery Pleads For Real Move
It’s not as if it was a big secret already, but Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has a Real Madrid move in his sights. Unfortunately, Bayern don’t feel the same way about a Real move that Ribery does, and if words from general manager Uli Hoeness (Sky Sports) don’t emphasize it enough, then Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s words (Sky Sports) should pour even more cold water on Ribery’s hopes.
Analysis: He’ll end up there eventually. Is another big, big-money signing in the cards for Real this summer? That might be asking a little much, but hopefully he has the patience to wait it out until next summer.
Lyon Want Van Nistelrooy
Lyon are eying Real Madrid’s Ruud van Nistelrooy as an option to replace the recently-departed Karim Benzema. (Goal.com)
Analysis: Wouldn’t be a bad move for van Nistelrooy, because I think he could tear it up in Ligue 1 if he comes back well from his injury. But as is the case with Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder, he may want to stay and be a part of Real’s new-look team, even if they don’t exactly want/need him around.
Ba Out, Ruiz In At Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim forward Demba Ba , and the club could look to replace him with KAA Gent hit-man Bryan Ruiz. (Goal.com)
Analysis: Not easy to replace a scorer like Mario Gomez, but Ba showed he knows his way around goal by netting 14 times in his first Bundesliga campaign last season. Ruiz won’t have to worry about shouldering the scoring load all of next season, with Vedad Ibisevic set to return after his season was ended by a knee injury in January and attackers Carlos Eduardo and Sejad Salihovic capable of chipping with goals on a regular basis.
Rennes To Land Bangoura
Rennes are set to land Dynamo Kiev forward Ismael Bangoura. (Goal.com)
Analysis: Rennes needed to add a forward this summer after not having a lot in the way of real firepower last season, and they’re filling that need well with Bangoura. He was one of the leading scorers in the Ukrainian Premier League each of the past two seasons, but before that, he was one of the leading scorers in Ligue 1 in the 2006/07 season, when he scored 12 goals for Le Mans.
Galatasaray Sign Keita
Galatasaray have signed Lyon flop Abdul Kader Keita for €9m. (BBC Sport)
Analysis: Big loss for Lyon in the end, but at least they were able to get a little more than half of what they wasted on him.
Panathinaikos Offer Cruz
Panathinaikos are set to make offer former Inter Milan striker Julio Cruz a contract worth €3.5m per year. (Transfer Market Web)
Analysis: Cruz spent the last nine seasons in Italy, and he could see the appeal in a new challenge at this point in his career. But in the end, I think he’ll ink with either Fiorentina or Napoli.