‘I couldn’t believe my luck when Man Utd wanted me!’ – Liverpool snub led Owen to Old Trafford


Michael Owen makes no apologies for having linked up with Manchester United in 2009, with the former Liverpool striker admitting he could not believe his luck when the Red Devils made an approach.

A forgettable spell at Newcastle had been taken in by the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner after returning to English football from Real Madrid.

Potential interest from Liverpool had been sounded out when making that move in 2005, but those at Anfield passed on the opportunity to do a deal.

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The same stance was taken four years later, with Rafa Benitez favouring other transfer options as a door was left open for arch-rivals United to snap up a proven goalscorer.

“I was leaving Newcastle and the first thing I did was phone Carra [Jamie Carragher] and said ‘speak to Rafa Benitez’,” Owen told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Carra got back to me and said ‘no, he’s about to sign someone’. I think it was David Ngog, but he had already had some great players in the team and basically they didn’t need another centre-forward. What do you want me to do at that point?

“My agent then spoke to virtually every club on the planet to see who was interested and the options were Hull City, Everton and Manchester United. You can imagine my thought process – go to Everton, get hated, go to Man Utd and get hated as well.

“As soon as I heard Man Utd were in for me then I thought, obviously first choice would be Liverpool and to go back there but if Liverpool aren’t going to want me and these are all my options then wow, Manchester United in the Champions League, I don’t have to move, I know loads of the lads. It was a brilliant move.

“I couldn’t believe my luck when Manchester United came in for me. Here’s me, regressing as a player in my own mind and still the champions of England wanted to sign me. I was absolutely buzzing when they wanted me.”

Owen went on to claim a Premier League title with United, while also making the bench in a Champions League final.

He admits that his intention was always to savour such occasions with Liverpool, but that opportunity was denied him.

A man with 40 England goals to his name from 89 appearances for his country, added: “When I was growing up, winning the Premier League for Liverpool would have been my massive dream, or winning the Champions League.

“As it is, I had to settle for winning quite a few trophies with Liverpool but none of them being the Premier League, which was unfortunate.”

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