Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Owen : What is Behind the Logic of the Deal...

I really reacts to the rumours surrounding Michael Owen’s new contract at Newcastle and wonders whether this sort of blind faith is why there have been years of underachievement at St James’ Park.

Michael Owen will become one of the Premier League’s top earners if he signs the new contract being offered to him at Newcastle. His current deal runs out at the end of this season and while it is sensible that Newcastle want to keep him, questions must be asked behind the logic of the deal. According to the Sun, Owen has been offered £140,000 per week to sign a new contract. And just to appease those who might instantly write this off, the Daily Telegraph also ran the story.

"It's the best contract the club has ever offered and it shows the owner (Mike Ashley) is prepared to spend big when it comes to keeping the best players. It's also a massive vote of confidence in Kevin Keegan, who has always wanted Owen to stay." Said the un named source.

Newcastle has been the source of much speculation this summer with rumours of the club having to sell key players to balance the books, the manager Kevin Keegan and director Dennis Wise falling out and possible takeover negotiations taking place. With this in mind, the club did well to capitalise on a poor United side and should have won their opening fixture at Old Trafford. However, the news of this bumper deal for Owen should be of some concern.

The facts are that Owen has never really seemed at home at Newcastle. He has been injured a lot and he is not getting any younger. On the other hand, he always puts in a good shift and chips in with his share of goals, but the truth is that he is too injury prone. He is no longer first choice for England because he can not be the focal point of a team if there is no guarantee that he will always be fit. With this in mind, bearing in mind also the fact that the club are supposedly struggling for money, £140,000 seems a bit too much, no?

The club have left it too late in my opinion and have forced themselves into offering a mammoth deal. They would have to sell him now or in January in order to get anything as he could leave for a free in the summer, so naturally they are offering him a bumper deal. But the hope that this £140,000 a week will manifest itself in repayments of longer lasting fitness and boundless goals are unrealistic. Not only this, this is a prime example of the raised hope and expectations that have burdened the club in recent years.

Newcastle are a trophy club, but in the wrong sense. They seem to concentrate on collecting trophy players, rather than the cups themselves. Does this deal make good sense for the club? Will Owen repay the enormous faith placed on him with years of injury free football with goals aplenty? Or should the club cut their losses and use the money to improve the squad in other areas? Possibly even buy a replacement for Owen?

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