March 17, 2006
Should Steven Gerrard Shut Up?
Right after losing to Benfica, Gerrard suggested that the answer to Liverpool's goalscoring problems is deceptively simple : Michael Owen.
At Gary Macallister's wife's funeral, he allowed himself to be interviewed and here is an excerpt from the article :
Gerrard explains: “I’ve got confidence in Peter Crouch, but to get the best out of him, he needs to play alongside a prolific scorer. Peter has never been prolific and I don’t think he’s ever going to be. He’s a target man; you’ll only get maximum benefit out of him if you play him alongside a prolific partner, and we haven’t got one. We’re desperate for one. I’m not going to sit here and disguise the fact that we need a poacher.”
No prizes for guessing the predator he has in mind — the one who joined Newcastle when he left Real Madrid last summer. “I know Michael Owen wanted to come here,” Gerrard says. “I’ve got a good enough relationship with him to know that. We speak regularly and I know what Michael’s feelings were. He wanted to come back and play for Liverpool. The fact that he’s not here now is down to Liverpool not making it happen, rather than Michael not wanting to come.
“It’s difficult for me to say what difference he might have made the other night, but Michael Owen scores goals. Domestically, in Europe and at international level, he has proved that. He’s a great player. Someone asked me in the interviews after the game on Wednesday if I’d like him back, which is a silly question. He’s a world-class player and one I love playing with. Of course I’d love to have him back. I was disappointed when he didn’t come, and so were the rest of the lads, because we all knew he’d have improved us, but it was a tricky situation. Michael was desperate to get away from Real quickly. If he’d given it a bit more time, I think he would have been a Liverpool player again.”
Might he still be? “Who knows what the future holds?” Gerrard says.
In my humble opinion, I actually feel that he's gone a bit too far.
As much as I would LOVE to see Michael Owen back in a red shirt and scoring goals for us again, it is also too easy to overlook certain issues.
Owen has 3 years left on his contract with Newcastle. He has made 10 appearances for the Magpies so far, and has gotten 7 goals. He has been injured for the rest of the time and does not deserve a fraction of his ridiculously high salary that he continues to get every week. Gerrard re-highlighting the fact that Owen never wanted to go to Newcastle in the first place means that it has driven Owen to come up with more embellishments about how happy he is at Newcastle.
Nobody ever said that life was fair. But it would be extremely unfair for Owen to be leaving after making less than 20 appearances and scoring maybe 10 goals or so (if he recovers his sharpness in time) after Newcastle paid over 17 mil for him, and then just leave like that.
So why is Steven Gerrard encouraging him to do exactly that? Why is Gerrard trying to unsettle Owen, and worse of all, the Newcastle players?
Also, it has been claimed that the only reason why Rafa didn't go for Owen was because the board wanted it more than he did, which meant that they might not have much left to buy players to fill in positions that needed to be filled more urgently. The players they never ended up buying and whose shadows I still cannot detect anywhere near Anfield ANYWAY! As I can only rely on my very reliable source and do not know Rafa or anyone associated with Liverpool FC well enough, I don't know how true or untrue that claim is, as I've heard more than enough claims to fill the Pacific Ocean.
But obviously (and I know that this post will elicit a LOT of bitter responses from certain Liverpool fans), and as I've been led to believe, since Liverpool didn't make much of an effort to bring Owen back last summer, why would it be any different this summer? Rafa made it very clear that he wanted to procure the services of a striker like Crouch, and that he doesn't like to have star players who score 20+ goals and then leave the club languishing in 4th or 5th, in his team. That means he clearly does not want Owen no matter how great he thinks he is, or how nice he thinks he is, which he continuously stressed on last summer.
Then, there is also the question of his price.
Freddy Shepard vehemently denied that there is a clause in Owen's contract which would let him leave for 12 mil. Well, obviously he wouldn't want people to believe that great players think of Newcastle only as a stop-gap measure, a temporary situation, but rather as some great club which they would want to spend the rest of their careers playing for. But I highly doubt that anyone (unless you're a deluded Newcastle fan who is contributing to the extraordinarily shocking riches which the club enjoys and is splashing in the wrong way!) in their right mind would think that someone like Michael Owen who left Liverpool to enjoy success would want to go to a club like Newcastle where there is more of a chance for Rio Ferdinand to become the top scorer of the League, than for Newcastle to actually be competing for major honours, (Though they still have a chance in the FA Cup so maybe I shouldn't be saying that YET.) to be staying there for the next 10 years RIGHT?
And I've also heard that the fact that Souness has been sacked conveniently makes it even easier for Owen to leave because there is apparently some clause in his contract which I do not completely understand, which implies that he can leave if the manager is sacked. He can also leave if they don't qualify for Europe, which looks quite likely. And obviously, if they get relegated. [Seriously, it's apparently written in the clause! So don't ask me!]
I don't really get the point of me typing this post. Just typed it out because I haven't posted in a long long time and because well, I feel that Stevie G shouldn't be taking matters into his own hands too soon. And also, because I think that Owen shouldn't leave Newcastle YET...even though I really want him to come back to Liverpool. It just doesn't feel right. Also, because I don't think it's fair to the Newcastle fans, even though he really should have never gone there in the first place. Also, because I felt like ranting.