Michael Owen is expected at Manchester United for a medical examination this morning ahead of an extraordinary move out of the wilderness to join the Premier League champions.
Owen, a player dumped by the England manager, Fabio Capello, and widely written off as an individual lacking the appetite and physical fitness to make it in the top flight, is expected to have signed by the end of today, provided he passes a medical which is likely to be stringent, given his injury record.
For the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, it would be the fulfilment of an old ambition, as he admired Owen when the striker was a youngster in Liverpool’s youth set-up. “We wanted to sign him,” Ferguson once said. “But we weren’t prepared to meet his father’s requirements so he signed for Liverpool.”
It is unclear how much Owen will earn but it seems likely his salary at United will be highly incentivised, with Ferguson presumably harbouring concerns that after four years of persistent injury during his spell with Newcastle United at St James’ Park he may lack the physical durability to play a role at Old Trafford.
A one-year rolling deal seems possible. For Owen, the incentives also include proving to Capello that he warrants a World Cup place at next summer’s finals in South Africa.
The tabloids all expect Owen’s move to Old Trafford to go through on Friday, and The Daily Mirror claims the Reds will also lodge a £16million bid for Sevilla’s Brazilian international striker, Luis Fabiano, although there may be competition from AC Milan.
Cristiano Ronaldo may have left Old Trafford, but he is in no doubt over which team will win the Premier League again next season. “For me, United will still win the Premier League next year, and I hope for a long time to come.”