Michael Owen to Burnley. Sounds daft, yeah? Not necessarily, says Jamie Smith.
Bolts of inspiration come from the blue. I had one today. I’m not bragging. But here we go. Are you sitting down for this? Ready? Okay…
Burnley should sign Michael Owen.
I know. I know. There are dozens of barriers in the way of most transfers, but Owen to Burnley probably has a million and one.
Starting with the bare facts: we need a striker and he needs a club. Yes, wages are likely to be an issue. Michael Owen is a rich man. If he wanted to, he could play for the wages we could offer. Yes, he’s injured a lot. But Owen insists he is fit and any deal could be strongly weighted towards payments for goals and appearances. His wages and his hamstrings seem to be the major problems here.
But what have we got to offer a player like Owen anyway? At 32, the former England international has seen his career winding down since he signed for Manchester United. Offers are thin on the ground. Everton would appear to be his preferred choice, but David Moyes has lots of attacking options and it’s hard to see him using money for Owen that he could save and spend on a loan in January like Landon Donovan.
Appearing on Goals on Sunday recently, Owen insisted he is fit and ready to play. He seemed hungry to prove people wrong who say his career is over. But if he wants a Premier League club to come in for him, he might be waiting for some time. Stoke City have been linked with him, but can you really see Owen at the Britannia, feeding off flick-ons from Peter Crouch? I can’t.
Imagine Owen in Claret and Blue. Yes, he’s not the player he was. He’s nowhere near as quick. He’s not as reliable as he used to be. But playing off Charlie Austin, he could thrive. In recent years, Owen has played a new role. Instead of playing off the shoulder of the last defender, he drifts deeper into the gap between midfield and attack. This is the sort of area Burnley lack someone. Stephen Dobbie has been linked to Turf Moor and Owen would play a similar role.
Owen has said he won’t drop to the Championship. But at tea-time tomorrow, facing early retirement at 32, Owen might just change his mind. He wants to stay in the north-west, restricting his choice of club. Liverpool, United, Manchester City, Everton – none of them want him. Blackburn Rovers have just spent £8 million on Jordan Rhodes. There aren’t many other clubs.
The former England man has also said he wants to stay in football once he’s finished playing. We could offer him the chance to work through his coaching badges, learning under one of the brightest young managers in the game. Owen could be an asset both on and off the pitch for Burnley. We wouldn’t just be getting another attacking option, one of the sharpest, most instinctive British footballers ever, we’d be getting a potential future Burnley manager. Stop laughing at the back.
Charlie Austin is already among the best young strikers in the country. Imagine what Owen could teach him. How much would the likes of Shay McCartan and Wes Fletcher develop under his guidance?
Our physios might have enough on their plate with Danny Ings, Martin Paterson and players like Keith Treacy at the club. But offer Owen a year, even a six-month contract. To pluck some numbers out of the air. £10,000 a week for a year is £500,000. That’s almost certainly less than Sam Vokes is costing us with his fee and wages combined. Owen still look a stupid idea?
I’m not saying Michael Owen would come to Turf Moor for £10k a week. I’m saying we should give him the chance. What harm could a phone call to his agent do?
Can you see Owen at Turf Moor? Comment below.