Manchester United sprung quite a surprise last week, with the signing of Michael Owen. Many were astonished that they would take a chance on a player whose best days are behind him and who comes with hefty salary demands.
But after a second look, there are several reasons why this move makes sense for the defending Premier League Champions.
Reason 1: Considering where his salary was at with Newcastle, he’s cheap.
Manchester United has given Owen a contract based entirely on incentives. He’ll only earn his money if he actually plays.
Reason 2: He’s happy to be playing in the Premier League for a top four club again …
… so he’ll do what you want, namely be a third striker (behind Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov) and have an impact off the bench.
Reason 3: They can afford to keep him to a limited playing schedule
Given that they don’t need to depend on him as a starter, Owen doesn’t need to play as many minutes, which should, hopefully, help keep him fit and healthy.
Reason 4: It’s Manchester United, not Newcastle United
You have to trust Man U staff to handle him better, physically and mentally, than the disaster that was Newcastle United.
Reason 5: He’s fits in with the system.
He can play as an out and out striker, or behind Berbatov or Rooney. Given the tendency of United’s current crop of forwards to drop back and assist rather than sit and wait for the ball, Owen is flexible enough to fit in well.
Reason 6: He and Rooney know and have played with each other already.
That, of course, was with England. During Steve McLaren’s days as manager (not that many Englishmen like to remember that time), “Owen and Rooney” was the predictable ending to any England starting eleven.
Reason 7: Allows Manchester United to bring Federico Macheda along a bit more slowly
The young Italian forward made a huge splash last season, netting the late winner against Aston Villa on April 5 last season. Still, he only made 4 appearances (scoring twice) last season, all as a substitute, and he will be only 18 next season. He may or may not be a future star for Man U, but putting too much pressure on him already may do more harm than good. As with Owen, the team can pick and choose when they want to give him minutes on the pitch.
So there you are, seven reasons why Michael Owen is good for Manchester United. That’s probably more reasons than I could find for paying 80 million Euro for Cristiano Ronaldo.