This former top notch hotshot will need a new home in a matter of days!
Alan Shearer has always been big on loyalty to friends but, as Michael Owen can now confirm, he will not let sentimentality or favouritism cloud his managerial judgment. Owen and Shearer go back a long way and even share an agent but Newcastle United’s manager unceremoniously hauled the under-performing sometime England striker off the St James’ Park pitch after 70 minutes against Middlesbrough on Monday night.
Within 55 seconds the decision was vindicated as the newly introduced Obafemi Martins gave Newcastle a vital lead. Yet it was made at a personal cost. Watching Owen visibly tense and, almost flinching, turn away as Shearer patted him on the back and Martins ran on, a once close relationship looked under extreme strain. It was a bold gesture on the part of such a novice manager. It was also one which may come to be regarded as an important watershed in Shearer’s career, the moment when he convinced the cynics that he really might cut it in the dug-out and Newcastle could remain a Premier League side.
Having failed to score since January and with his old change of pace appreciably dimmed, Owen – surely now suited to more of an attacking midfield position than deployment as an orthodox striker – finds himself seeking pastures new. No English club will match his current £115,000-a-week deal and he may regret not accepting Newcastle’s (now withdrawn) January offer of a reduction to around £80,000. Although Everton and Celtic are reputedly interested in re-inventing his game, money could prove an obstacle. He may need to look east to Istanbul, where Galatasaray want him to star alongside Harry Kewell. (The Guardian)
So this piece begs the question. Who will take the gamble on. That is, if it is a gamble. Michael Owen still knows his way to the back of the net, unfortunately he also knows his way to the treatment table. At 29 and 12 years since his debut many feel that he is burnt out and a shadow of his former self but of course any potential suitor won’t have to pay a transfer fee for the England man and that in itself negates his somewhat obscene wage demands.
Owen is smart enough to know that if the right offer comes along then as a multi millionaire he would surely consider a drop in wage demands in return for a regular run in the starting eleven and would presumably like to stay in the Premier League unless an offer from abroad was of a high enough caliber.
Having managed less than 60 Premier League starts in near on four years at St James’ Park it seems a fresh start is best for all concerned and it the look of dismay on his face when he was hauled off against Middlesbrough proves to me that he still has a hunger and passion for the game and it would be a calculated risk worth taking and surely there will be no shortage of offers for the former Liverpool legend.
Do you think your club could do with making such a move or would it be a foolish case of misadventure?