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09 June 2009

Devil’s advocate: is Owen really such a bad signing?

Owen Now, I’m not suggesting Chelsea snap him up by any means. But Aston Villa’s recent distancing of themselves from Michael Owen’s signature throws me into confusion. Aside from the obvious, why aren’t clubs of that ilk coming in for him?

His scoring record – at all levels of the game – speaks for itself. At 204 goals from 418 appearances, he scores at one goal every two games, more than respectable for any striker. This includes 30 goals from 76 appearances at Newcastle (not far shy of one in two, and a lot of those appearances came from the bench), an underperforming team playing at the foot of the table. His England record is outstanding too – 40 goals from 89 appearances. Not to be sniffed at.

OweninjuredOf course, his injury record is the major sticking point, and a stretch of fitness problems has certainly taken the edge of his pace. But one could argue in his favour that he has successfully adapted his game from pacey forward playing on the shoulder of the last defender to more of a box player. And who knows, the extra motivation of playing for a team at the right end of the table (he hasn’t won anything for nearly six years) could potentially squeeze another few games a season out of him. Besides which, 31 appearances for each of the last two seasons consecutively is hardly abysmal– it’s as many as Robben managed for Chelsea in 04/05 and 06/07.

Finally – he’d come cheap. Even if he was on inflated weekly earnings, he’d arrive on a free transfer and awarding a short-term contract would minimise the financial risk. Plus of course, still being a big name in football, he’d sell shirts. Back in January I remember suggesting to a Chelsea-supporting friend that he’d be a good signing. Six months on, his horizons might have lowered a little but I’d be surprised if come the start of the season he’s not with a top 10 club. Villa, Everton, Fulham – step up.

Disagree? Post a comment.


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I've always been a fan of Owen, and his goalscoring record is outstanding, but surely with the likes of Drogba and Anelka already occupying the Striker role, with Franco Di Santa seemingly waiting in the wings, he really wouldn't play much? If Ancellotti continues with Chelsea's 4-3-3 system, there is only room for one striker at a time, and surely Owen will be too far down the pecking order to warrant his wage demands.

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