A tea-spitting moment if ever there was one, Owen Hargreaves has signed a one-year deal for Manchester City. We asked two Saboteurs if this was glorious insanity or makes footballing sense...
Perfect Sense (for Manchester City that is) by Stephen Tudor
The news hit me like a sludge of s**t and my reaction was to slowly wipe it from my eyes and shake it from my hands in the exaggerated manner of Oliver Hardy being hit by a custard pie. Owen Hargreaves to City? A cast-off crock from those lot of all people. Tevez was one thing but this was quite another. Hearing that he’d passed his medical was astounding. That he never broke his wrist when putting pen to paper was another small miracle. But as I digested the information I began to see the sense in the move. City appear to have an abundance of central midfielders. We don’t. By employing Bobby Manc’s ‘power three’ that leaves us with Milner or to deploy Zabaleta in his second-choice role as back up. We needed cover for a long, arduous campaign and all the talk was of De Rossi. £35m and another slingshot for the snipers to mention our outlay.
As good as De Rossi is – no, how great a player he is – he would have unsettled a bedded-in formation and set-up at City. The battle for a first team spot would have created potential disharmony. Whereas Hargreaves, bless his ankle-supporting socks, will merely be glad to be involved. A league game here and there. And if – and I grant you it’s a colossal if – he can regain his former fitness suddenly the move looks very shrewd indeed. His European experience and quiet intelligence alone is worthy of a squad place. In that respect, as in others, he slots in as a replacement for Vieira.
Owen Hargreaves to City? This morning I would have scoffed. Now I’m beginning to see the logic. Welcome to Manchester Owen. Don’t look up at the poster we’ve done for you. You’ll probably crick your neck.
As it is, I see him remaining a frustrated player looking through a steamed up window like a footballing version of little Timmy Cratchett.
Madness by Owen Blackhurst
While completely understanding the views of my esteemed colleague from a Manchester City perspective, Owen Hargreaves must have the same rocks in his head that have destroyed his knees to join Manchester City. I have nothing against City and really enjoy watching them, but Hargreaves must be insane on two counts. Firstly, if I had been unable to play football for two years and was suddenly fit enough to actually contemplate kicking a ball again (and miraculously pass a medical) then the last thing I would want to do is become a bench warmer at a club with enough players to fill a trench at Ypres. When returning from long term injuries, players often pick up secondary and even tertiary strains and pulls that can only be worked out of the system by playing regular football.
Secondly, we can only presume that the deal will be of the pay as you play variety, and with this in mind added to what I’ve said above, he won’t be splashing out on any new cars or hairbands anytime soon. West Brom, Spurs and Villa don’t have the same allure as City, but you can pretty much guarantee that, should he actually be able to play consistently, he would be one of the first names on the team sheet at any one of those clubs.
I feel for Owen Hargreaves, I had to stop playing football aged 21 to injuries and I miss playing at an average county standard, so I don’t begrudge him this move at all. However I heard that he sees a move to City as the best way to get his England place back which I also see as nonsense. Had he chosen to go to a less illustrious team and played a full season then he’d surely be on the reckoning for Euro 2012 and would possibly get a shot at Champions League football with another move one year down the line. As it is, I see him remaining a frustrated player looking through a steamed up window like a footballing version of little Timmy Cratchett.
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