Surprisingly former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves it appears is on the verge of a shock move to Manchester City on a free transfer.
Hargreaves of course left United at the end of last season after his contract expired after four injury-hit years at Old Trafford. The former England midfielder has attracted interest from several clubs over the summer and has been reportedly linked with Premier League side West Brom and Championship side Leicester City.
Ex-England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has openly revealed his interest in the former 2-time Champions League winner, who had clearly hoped to bring Owen to the Foxes in order to give them more experience as they look to push to promotion to the top-flight.
Should the deal be completed for Owen to join City, there are several questions that spring to mind:
Why would City want him? After all they have some excellent midfielders and it’s not as if given his past injury record that he’s likely to produce the kind of form that he had during his first season at United. Surley even City with their mega wages do not want to have players on their books who are unlikely to play – then again they do have more money than sense, so perhaps can afford a ‘gamble’ on Owen.
What do City’s younger players think of the deal? Michael Johnson before getting injured in 2008 was thought of as a highly-talented young midfielder who could (even before the days of Sheikh Mansour) break into the City team and become a main-stay of their line-up. He is a player who City have spent time and money on developing and this season he’s been loaned out ironically to Eriksson’s Leicester.
Now regardless of whether he has been injured or not, how would he feel if Hargreaves is brought in. If Johnson is not deemed ‘good enough’ to play for City this season despite being younger, surely it would be better for him if he was sold to Leicester as he does not stand a chance now of breaking into City’s squad.
Overall though, would any United fan really blame Hargreaves for moving to City? The answer to that question is no. Owen sadly spent the last three years of his time at the club injured which was a shame given how well he had played in his first season when he played an important role in our Premiership and Champions League double in 2008.
If the move does go through, it really will be a great chance for Owen to prove himself as everyone (the media, pundits and the majority of football fans worldwide) will not expect him judging by his injury-record to break into Roberto Mancini’s side and play no more than 5-10 games, if that.
No fan can blame him for taking the money at City and in wanting to be ambitious, in wanting to be a side who will fight for trophies. After his problems over the last couple of years, this would be a good move for him personally as aside from the fact he wouldn’t have to move house, he would make a good ‘pay-day’ from it, not that he’s short of money of course!
One thing is for sure, it will be intriguing to see how many appearances he makes for City. After all in an interview with the Daily Mail at the weekend, Owen was quoted as saying:
“I’d like to think I can play 40 games this season and with the right care I believe I can train every day. I hope to be back in the England side for the European Championship next summer. You have to have ambition.”
Making 40 appearances this season, on paper you would feel would be out of his reach but if he does it really would be one of the ‘stories’ of the season, without any shadow of a doubt. As for getting back into the England squad, well that’s probably something that is unlikley to happen giving the competition for places at the moment, but stranger things have happened.
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