Date: 7th April 2011 at 12:00pm
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Earlier this week Michael Owen expressed his desire to sign a new deal at Old Trafford.

His current deal comes to an end this summer and no new deal has been forthcoming from the club.

Owen currently finds himself fourth choice at Old Trafford and with Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck scheduled to return to the club next season, there are question marks over his future at the club.

After an indifferent start to the season Wayne Rooney’s quality has undoubtedly shone through whilst Dimitar Berbatov remains the club’s and league’s top scorer but his situation is the clearest indicator of how tight it is to secure a place in the starting line up as he has found playing time hard to come by due to the emergence of Javier Hernandez who, in his debut season has been a revelation scoring goals freely.

Chances have been and will continue to be limited for Owen so would remaining at Old Trafford be a good move for either party?

A few weeks ago Sir Alex sang the praises of Danny Welbeck claiming he would be returning from his loan spell next season. The young striker has enjoyed his time with England’s u21 and Sunderland and performed to the extent that he was able to secure an England debut in last month’s exciting encounter with Ghana. His spell away from the club has benefitted him immensely and you can see the change in him as he has become a much better player for it.

Just yesterday quotes attributed to Sir Alex in Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport revealed that Sir Alex was keen to get the young Italian back to Old Trafford and praised him as a natural goalscorer. Macheda’s spell hasn’t been as fruitful as Welbeck’s and I wouldn’t be shocked if he was loaned out to an English club as had been the plan this season but if he isn’t that means we will have 6 strikers as well as younger ones like Josh King, who has been on the periphery of the first team, looking to stake a claim  next season.

Owen is still a quality player, despite modifying his game his predatory instinct remains and can get important goals even if he doesn’t guarantee you 30 games a season. His presence alone is a huge asset to the strikers we have as he can teach them a thing or two about getting goals but I feel that there is no place for sympathy here. I, as well as many others, would much rather see the likes of Danny Welbeck continue to learn his game at Old Trafford than spend another season out on loan even if it means it is at the expense of Michael Owen.

Owen too owes it to himself to be playing more. I’m not sure whether he feels at this stage of his career he can capture a starting place in the team but if he feels he can get an extension to his deal whilst operating in his current capacity then he is clearly good enough to be getting constant playing time at a lesser club. A step down will guarantee him more minutes on field, there is no shame in stepping down especially at his age and with his injury record.

There has been talk of loss of ambition but who wouldn’t want to play for the best team in the world under the best manager? Despite this I don’t doubt that his hunger to play has diminished and judging by his recent comments on Twitter he is hungry to play and score rather than just sit on the bench collecting wages.

Owen’s future still hangs in the balance, the season is not over and as I discussed with a friend the other day he may still have one major contribution to make to Manchester United but beyond this season I personally can’t see him being kept on. At 31,  turning 32 next season, his age and the youth we have emerging works against him.

Whilst injuries have hampered his time here there are still a number of highlights from what was an year experiment that can be deemed neither a success or a failure but an experiment that has essential run it’s course .


20 responses to “Is a departure best for both parties?”

  1. andy says:

    Yes Michael move on for your own sake – you’re too good for them, and they’ve done you over.
    Either that or turn into a f******* and swearing slob, then they might value you more.
    Poor show MU!

    • Red Mick says:

      I know…. is’nt it just awful when a grown man says a naughty word!!!!

      …… wouldnt happen on merseyside!!!!

      • andy says:

        yes it definately is – obviously you are not a parent – would you want your children seeeing that behaviour – if so then you are obviously as low as WR !
        I think you have his description wrong – ‘grown man’ – no
        overpaid infantile self conceited moraless philandering self indulgent child!

  2. Josh says:

    Possibly the comment of a bitter liverpool fan seeing their once “Golden Boy” playing for the better team?

    I have a lot of time for Owen, his winner against City was one of the most satisfying goals i have seen, but it was one of only a handful in an injury plagued time at Old Trafford.

    Michael should get more games, but like Chudi says, with the talent we have and the boys coming home and breaking through the ranks, we can’t be wasting time on a player whos best days are most probably behind him.

    I would much rather see him play more games at a team like Fulham or Blackpool, who would benefit from his experience with their young strike force, than stay here and warm the bench for us.

    • andy says:

      agreed – whichever club their gain Man utds loss
      PS – no not a liverpool fan but a man utd supporter

      • Josh says:

        Well how about a bit of fuckin unity?!!??

        Michael Owen came to United for one reason, to get games and get into the World Cup squad.

        He got injured, missed the cup and has played off the bench ever since.

        We haven’t screwed him over at all, if anything we did him a massive favour even signing him knowing how injurty prone he is and played him anyway!

        And if he’s been so poorly treated, why would he want to stay? Stokholm syndrome!?!?

      • Red Mick says:

        Not a united fan, as referred to us as them in your original post.

  3. Red Mick says:

    I disagree a little bit, I personally think Welbeck could benefit with another year at sunderland, whilst we keep Micky O on for one more year, he is still a fine goalscorer, and i think we would benefit from having him around for another year. Certainly think he could teach Chicharito, and Kiko a thing or 2. However i think it is unlikely, and he is unlikely to be offered another deal

  4. Jonathan says:

    I’m torn on it. Virtually everytime he gets the rare chance to play, he looks quite good. It leads me to wonder what he could do given a bit more chances. I’m also inclined to agree with Red Mick and that Welbeck could go another year on loan. Owen is currently still a better player than Macheda or Welbeck; though I’d agree he’d be in the way of their development if he stays and they return from loan.

    The biggest cause against Owen’s return is Chicharito. When he arrrived, Owen was 3rd on the depth chart, but now has no hope of finding himself further than 4th. Our current top 3 generally have a good health history, so Owen is unlikely to see much more playing time even if he’s preferred to the likes of our up and coming forwards.

    Overall, it’s hard for me to frame an opinion on it. He’s still usefull to have around, but there’s also good reason for all parties for him to move on. I won’t sweat for whatever decision is made; but if he does go, maybe it should be to Everton to turn the knife in Liverpool’s back once more.

  5. Denise says:

    I am a United fan but I do feel Fergie has screwed Michael Owen in one respect. I feel it is obvious that Fergie has no intention of offering him a new contract. That being the case Fergie should do the decent thing and tell him now not keep it hanging over him till the end of the season. To wait until then and turn round and say you can get lost now we don’t want you is wrong and no player deserves that kind of treatment. That may be Fergie’s way but it certainly isn’t mine and would make me wonder about Ronaldo’s claim about players being treated like pieces of meat. Owen deserves more respect than that. Fergie would not let him go out on loan to other Premiership clubs and then on his own admission has not been fair to him yet despite this Owen has behaved with great professionalism and dignity and far more than that shown by Rooney in recent months. Surely it is not too much to ask for Fergie to treat Owen with the respect he deserves.

    • Chudi says:

      To be fair Denise even if he tells him now, there isn’t much he can do. Player plan ahead and the fact he is yet to be offered a new deal mean he probably has something in the pipeline just incase.

      It’s rare to let a player who has signed just a 2 year deal go out on loan especially as he was signed as cover and was providing just that. It may seem harsh on Owen but that is how the game is.

      • Denise says:

        Chudi you say that even if he told him now there isn’t much he can do. Actually that would leave Owen free to talk to other clubs as a player can do with six months or less to run on a current contract. The position Owen is in at the moment he cannot do that. Therefore Fergie is being very unfair to him leaving him in limbo like this. Fergie refused to allow him to go out on loan promising him that he would get games. However Fergie has not done that. Fergie also promised him games last season and again failed to play fair with him. The fact is he has not given Owen games even when the other strikers have been injured or off form. Also even when he scored his hat trick he was immediately dropped to the bench for the following game. What ever way you look at it Fergie has been very unfair in his treatment of Owen. The fact that Owen has behaved so admirably despite all of this does leave me wondering if Fergie prefers the loutish foul mouthed histrionics of Rooney. Personally I deplore this kind of conduct from someone who is a role model for todays youngsters

        • andy says:

          excellent – you put it far better than me thanks

        • Chudi says:

          Like I said that is football and as he is in the last months of his contract with or without being told he is being kept or released he is free to talk to other clubs.

          I understand why you would say he is being treated unfairly but in there has ALWAYS been an alternative option ie going one up top etc, it’s not like he has been the only option and still overlooked.

  6. Red Mick says:

    I have to disagree. He knows the score, and knows he wont be short of offers if he goes, and half the reason im hoping he does stay is because he clearly wants to be at us, even tho he knows he wont get as many opportunities with us as he would elsewhere, i have changed my opinion on him massively in 2 years, and would love to keep him with us, but dont believe that he is being mistreated, i mean, lets be fair, he has spent more time injured than he has fit!! Lets not start getting silly and criticisng SAF’s man management skills!!!

  7. Ryan says:

    oh please Denise and Andy (especially).. Poor owen… SAF brought him in, there are no guarentees. He is the 4th best striker at a massive club. You’re not going to get much time, especially at this time of year. I like Owen just fine as a 4th option, and he has been good. I’m good if he stays or goes depending on what Fergie says is best for the younger guys. BUT if i was Michael I would want to leave to get some more playing time

    • andy says:

      ryan please read my posts again – I have never put ‘poor owen’ – my point which is obviously being missed, perhaps too subtle for some, is that our godlike SAF is saying one thing and doing another (and not just to Owen as I am sure Berbatov would also agree) plus also seems to be sticking with a slob who stats show has no better scoring record than others (and worse in the case of Berbatov)- who has again let them down and may (hopefully not) cost them.
      In short Man utd supporter I am – rooney fan I am not. As the biggest club in the world we have a corporate role and need good role models treated decently – loyalyty recognised by SAF not loudmouthed idiots whose ‘brains’ are definately not in his head but somewhere further south!

  8. Red Mick says:

    I’d rather have a team full of Cantona’s, Rooney’s and Keane’s than squeaky clean “role models” and am sure 99% of match going fans would agree. I’ve got nothing against Owen, quite the opposite in fact, but to suggest he deserves better because he is a role model, is absolute nonsense. Also you’re deluded if you think Kids arent hearing these words on a near daily basis in todays society.

    • andy says:

      no – not deluded – just disappointed re the state of soceity today as your reply has just proved!

  9. Denise says:

    Red Mick I am not saying Owen deserves better purely because he is a good role model. If you had read my first post you would see that I clearly stated that no player deserves to be treated as Owen is being treated.. If a manager does not want a player he should tell him so not leave him in limbo. Also you criticise me and Andy prefering decent role models for youngsters and yet you are also showing preferential treatment of appalling loutish behaviour as demonstrated by Rooney. Are you saying you would want all of our youngsters cursing and swearing at the teachers as Rooney does to referees. If so it is small wonder that I am so disappointed in our society. I am also well aware that children hear this kind of language on the streets. However it is also well known that children do copy what their heroes do and say therefore the likes of Rooney do have a responsibility not to make the situation worse than it is already.