Posted on Tuesday, 30th August 2011 by Chudi
News today that Owen Hargreaves could be on the verge of signing for Man City was met with a mixed response.
Having been released by us this summer after an injury plagued 4 years it was thought that Hargreaves could be on his way to West Brom, but today it emerged that Man City were shock suitors for the England midfielder.
Having become somewhat of a cult hero for his part in our double winning 07/08 season, I’m sure we as fans were nearly as disappointed as he was every time he was penciled in to return and didn’t appear on the teamsheet on footballscores.com or that he was scheduled to play but suffered a set back, so rightly there was some anger when it became apparent that he could be on his way to Eastlands.
Hargreaves has worked hard to prove his fitness this summer going as far as to release videos on YouTube to demonstrate that his body is up to the rigours of football but it appeared few were willing to take a risk beyond Sven Goran Eriksson, Roy Hodgson and Tom Soehn, manager of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It has emerged that Hargreaves was desperate to remain at Old Trafford and even offered to play for free but the club turned down his offer, so how angry should we be that he is now set to sign for rivals Man City?
Earlier this summer I looked at a players loyalty to his club and to himself and this is another ideal example.
Hargreaves has been out of the game for since 2008, I don’t count these numerous false dawns and reserve appearances and I’m sure he doesn’t either. Looking at the press this summer it appeared that he would have to take a massive step down to continue his career.
Going from playing for Manchester United to the likes of Leicester, West Brom or Vancouver Whitecaps wouldn’t have been easy, especially as he had gone to such efforts to prove his fitness so the fact a team like Man City have come in for him must feel like Christmas to Hargreaves.
Although he apparently had offers from Aston Villa and Tottenham, Man City are the obvious option as they are a team on the rise not only domestically but also in Europe and offer the best prospect for silverware.
Another case for him to join them is the fact that we released him. He offered to play for free and we turned him down so essentially he was free to do what he liked regardless of past allegiances, whether we agree or not.
As my fellow blogger Rob B pointed out he isn’t the first person to do it so why has this move evoked such anger? Denis Law made the move and isn’t regarded in a negative light, Mark Hughes went over there and isn’t as chastised as Hargreaves has been but why?
Some are calling him a mercenary, claiming that he is simply going for the money but surely you must agree that he believes if he is fit he will break into their squad. A fit Hargreaves would easily be amongst their top midfielders and if he was good enough to do a job for us why not them? He clearly has faith in his ability to play at the top level thus he rejected Eriksson’s offer to play Championship level football.
So is it a simple case of loyalty?
Throughout the 4 years Hargreaves was at the club we stuck by him despite the injuries. As mentioned there were various relapses and injuries that kept him from playing again. Other clubs would have cancelled his contract but we continued to pay his wages.
He was with us long enough to understand the needle between the two clubs and also saw how it has grown over the past few years so even though we rejected his offer to play for free would it have been a sign of good will not to sign for our local rivals and biggest title threat?
As disappointed as I am, I can’t fault him for joining City. They represented the best deal for him financially and in terms of on field prospects. He could have joined a lesser team but that is an impossible ask of a professional.
The fact of the matter is we released him so he was free to do what he liked. I wouldn’t tell an ex girlfriend who she can or can’t go out with. Once we split up her business is her own and the same goes for Hargreaves.
Saying that I can totally understand the anger directed towards him, he knew what he was doing signing for them so if he is boo’ed, and it is likely he will be, it will be as a result of his actions.
But what do you think? Are you angry at Hargreaves for joining Man City