Press See Sense In Owen Move
This is the big news of the summer, officially. Michael Owen at Manchester United. I'm still in disbelief if I'm honest, I never thought I'd live the day to see Owen holding a United scarf, posing in a United shirt, looking a very happy bunny.
I'm far from convinced of the wisdom of this business but the majority of the press backs it as a win-win scenario for the club. Their support is a concern in itself, considering the Fleet Street's track record when it comes to United predictions.
Obviously, I'm not talking about the bile that Des Kelly spouted in the Daily Mail, talking as if the transfer window were closed and deriding United for only signing a winger from Wigan and a 29-year-old injury prone striker on a free transfer.
No, I rate Martin Samuel's opinion higher: he believes that 'It is a coup from left field that will surprise and disquiet in equal measure. Face it, what defender would truly enjoy facing a fit, firing Owen in a Manchester United shirt next season? If Ferguson can restore him to former glories, there will be no finer goalscorer in the Premier League.'
Independent's James Lawton also concentrates on the possible benefits: 'United, who were not awash with goals at vital points of last season, get one of the most practiced hands in that vital department. Owen gets to go about his business in a team which apart from winning the game's most serious silverware doesn't, if we forget for a moment the Champions League final against Barcelona, frequently suggest that their idea of teamwork is a collective failure of nerve — a bonus he did not enjoy in his four years in Newcastle.'
BBC's Phil McNulty agrees with Lawton about Owen's goalscoring potential:
i>'...as someone who watched United regularly last season, if there was one element missing from the squad that deservedly claimed a third successive Premier League title, it was a ruthless, killer instinct. Owen will never lose that and the pragmatist in Ferguson tells him that, even at 29, he can add an extra dimension to United.'
Kevin McCarra, in the Guardian, notes that Owen, as a specialist goalscorer, could have a very special role to play: 'It may be that Owen can help United win the run-of-mill matches more easily, so allowing his team-mates to conserve energy for key fixtures in a long campaign.'
Tony Cascarino (ok, not a proper journalist rather an annoying ex-footballer doing expert analysis for a living), Times, calls this Fergie's weirdest signing but sees sense in it. He writes that Fergie will think about Owen that '...he has played on the biggest European stage and got goals." If you can get goals at Real, as a substitute or a starter, you can do it anywhere. And there are not too many available players out there who could do that.
So there's optimism that Owen could reignite his faltering career at a club like ours - and in turn, help us to a few much-needed goals. IF it all works out like this, I'll be happy - but I have serious doubts about this whole thing, regardless of the hacks' opinions.