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Owen Signs, and he’s no Henrik Larsson

It’s official. The sun hasn’t run out of hydrogen yet, most humans continue to work for a living, but Michael Owen somehow finds himself a Manchester United player.

To be honest, I’ve never felt so underwhelmed by a United signing when I first heard it. I’ve been intrigued by some of Fergie’s buys but never so underwhelmed as I have been with this one. What shocks me is the PR on full tilt on the official site. Yes, we know it’s the official site etc, but to publish a headline that went ‘Reds fans excited over Owen signing’ made my stomach curdle.

I was extremely mad yesterday when this Owen signing gathered pace and didn’t even know how to react. Today I have better control over my emotions and I might be able to string a few sentences together. But first, the manager reaction:

“Michael is a world class forward with a proven goalscoring record at the highest level and that has never been in question. Coming to Manchester United with the expectations that we have is something that Michael will relish.”

Yes, Owen would definitely relish it. He should be thanking his stars for being given a chance to redeem himself.

A free transfer is something one can hardly argue against. But we’ve had our trysts with injury prone players in the past with Saha, and Hargreaves now. I just wonder how Owen’s thigh, knee, groin, ankle, nose, eye will hold up. Our record with keeping injury prone players fit hasn’t exactly been a paragon in sports science excellence.

While describing Owen, one must be wary about his usage of tense. He was a world class centre forward. He was clinical. He was pacy. He is still a prick to a lot of fellow reds.

But he’s a United player now. I will always view this signing with scepticism until I see something on the pitch that changes my opinion otherwise. I would love to be proved wrong on this and he actually ends up rediscovering some of his past form. But he has a two year contract with us, and would be less demanding of a place on the first team. He will hopefully get a pay as you play contract on top of a modest weekly wage, and that should suit me just fine.

My main worry is this shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of desperation. Ferguson clearly wants his signings before the pre season. And that’s reflected by his need to get things out of the way in a hurry upon his return from holiday; we were in on the Benzema deal quickly to be fair whether we got him or not.

The main question will be whether he will persist with trying to buy another striker (and if so, why sign Owen then?) Or will he go for a winger or midfielder? These are questions I’m sure Ferguson will have to address if he wants his starting XI and formations sorted out before the season.

So I’m sorry, Manutd.com, I don’t currently share the excitement you seem to have gleaned from your messageboards. I may get excited if Owen actually stays fit for a few months in a row. Till then, I’ll wait to see if we have any more signings lined up.

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