So It wasn’t a joke after all!
Manchester United are in talks to sign former Liverpool and Newcastle striker Michael Owen, BBC Sport understands.
The 29-year-old, who is out of contract at Newcastle, did not return for pre-season training after his deal with the Magpies ran out in June.
Owen has been linked with Everton, Aston Villa, Stoke and Hull but now looks set to sign for the Old Trafford club, pending a medical on Friday.
“Sources close to the player have suggested to me that a medical will take place on Friday,” BBC Radio 5 Live’s Juliette Ferrington reported from Manchester.
“He has already completed one test on his knee and should he come through Friday’s test he’ll sign on a free transfer.
“Contract talks continued late into the night. It would represent a major turnaround for the England striker who has been hampered by injury problems.
“Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been a long time admirer of Michael Owen and it looks like he has made his move.” (BBC Sport)
So what started out as a crazy rumour seems to be about to become a fact, but has Sir Alex lost his grasp on reality or has he in fact weighed up the pros and cons of such a signing and decided it was in fact a bargain signing?
There is no doubting the striker’s pedigree and you could argue that even whilst at St James’ Park he has been a relative success, that is of course if you ignore the months out with various injuries and the astronomical wage packet that almost crippled the stricken club.
Many would suggest that Owen’s career has burnt out, the result of 13 tough seasons on a player who is still some months shy of his 30th birthday. Rumours are that a great percentage of the striker’s £100k a week demands will only be achieved as a result of how he performs on the pitch and indeed if he can stay injury free.
One thing is for sure, he is bound to get a lively welcome if/when he comes up against Liverpool this coming season. Will he get a standing ovation or experience some verbal sparring from his former adoring public?