Everton: Would Michael Owen be a good signing for the Toffees?
Various social networking sites have been abuzz with talk that Michael Owen is on the verge of a move to Everton.
On the surface, such a move appears logical – he’s a striker and a free agent, two things Everton have demonstrated they are in the market for by courting and then ultimately rejecting Hugo Rodallega.
He is known to have grown up an Evertonian and, as he approaches the twilight of his career and having amassed a large personal fortune, spending a year or two at Goodison Park on a performance-related basis would appear to be a fitting swansong for the more romantic elements of our fanbase.
However, when you stress-test this potential deal against parameters such as fitness, value, age and return on investment, it doesn’t necessarily add up to such a great idea.
The first concern that always springs to mind is his fitness record. Since returning to the UK from Real Madrid in 2005, Owen has made just 131 appearances in all competitions for Newcastle and Manchester United, an average of 18 games per season. Even in a 38-game season, that’s not a great return, but when you consider his most recent club played about 60 matches each season, it’s a bleak picture.
The flipside to those statistics is that he managed to score 57 goals across the same period, a ratio of roughly 1:2.5 suggesting that when he plays, he often scores, further reinforcing the common belief that he is a naturally talented goalscorer.
No club, Everton included, would sniff at signing a proven goalscorer for free, but they also need someone on the pitch most weeks. After a few seasons watching our main forward, Louis Saha, warm the bench for long periods, it’s difficult to envisage David Moyes being willing to entertain such a risk again, especially given the sizeable salary Owen would still command – or at least demand – even now.
Another factor that may play against Owen in Moyes’ thinking is the player’s age. The manager is trying to bring down the average age of this squad and at 32 Owen would certainly represent the thin end of the wedge.
If Owen had agreed to Moyes’ terms after their meeting in Miami in 2009, instead of opting for Old Trafford, perhaps his career and his perception among football fans would be different. It’s another chapter of unanswerable ‘what if’s’ in a career of swingeing underachievement.
What is clear is that Everton’s need for an out and out goalscorer has diminished since three years ago with the emergence of Nikica Jelavic, alongside Owen’s perceived footballing value after a disappointing spell at United.
It would appear that, even with Everton’s limited resources and their need for reinforcements, Michael Owen could just be a man out of time as far as the Blues are concerned.
Calling all Everton fans: Do you agree with Barry? Has Michael Owen missed the boat as far as joining Everton is concerned or would you still love to give Owen the chance to shine at Goodison Park? Whatever your views we'd love to hear from you.