Michael Owen signs new deal at Manchester United
Wednesday 01 June 2011
Sir Alex Ferguson has sprung a major surprise by handing Michael Owen a one-year contract extension.
Owen's present two-season deal was about to expire and, having been overshadowed by Javier Hernandez last season and knowing new signings were expected - in addition to the return of Danny Welbeck from Sunderland, it was anticipated the former England striker would be released.
However, Ferguson evidently still views the 31-year-old as an important member of his squad.
"Michael has proved to be a top footballer," said Ferguson.
"It is unfortunate that he did not get more opportunities but the form of Chicharito (Hernandez) put everyone in the shade and his partnership with Rooney proved invaluable.
"I am delighted Michael is staying for a further year and we will look to give him more opportunities in the new season."
The last of Owen's two league goals closed a record 19th title-winning campaign for the Red Devils, and earned him a championship medal for the first time.
It was also enough to earn him a place on the bench ahead of Dimitar Berbatov for Saturday's Champions League final, although he did not play a part in United's 3-1 defeat.
"I am delighted to have agreed a one-year extension to my contract," said Owen.
"To play alongside so many great players, under an exceptional manager, and in front of so many passionate supporters is a real inspiration.
"I can't wait for next season to start."
The news casts an even greater shadow over Berbatov's United career, though.
The Bulgarian was tight-lipped when he returned home yesterday but it is difficult to see what role he could play unless Ferguson opts to unload Welbeck, who gained his first England cap against Ghana in March.
Latest in Sport
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts