Liverpool reject Michael Owen as John Henry admits errors during Anfield ownership

No Anfield return for former striker while club's owner talks of 'difficult two years'

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, has decided against approaching Michael Owen about a return to his spiritual home of Anfield, despite the club's desperate need of striking reinforcements after a disastrous conclusion to the transfer window.

The prospect of a free agent being brought in has not been excluded from Liverpool's thinking, though a return for Owen would be dependent on the club receiving a highly incentivised pay-as-you-play proposal which would limit their exposure if fitness problems rendered him unable to play.

Liverpool, who as of yesterday afternoon had not had contact from Owen, would be unlikely to match the imaginative £10,000 to £15,000-a-week deal Manchester United struck with the 32-year-old. Though Owen is looking for a club commutable from his North Wales home and still holds Liverpool in huge affection, the £30,000-a-week, two-year offer from Stoke City looks far more likely.

Rodgers' conclusions on Owen were reached as Liverpool's prinicipal owner, John W Henry, yesterday took the highly unusual step of publishing an open letter, defending the transfer-market activity which saw the manager denied Fulham's Clint Dempsey as the replacement he had expected when sending Andy Carroll out on loan to West Ham United. Henry admitted there had been mistakes during Fenway Sports Group's "difficult" two years of ownership, accepting they have overspent on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages. "[This] will not happen overnight. It has been a difficult first two years of ownership," Henry said.

The spending splurge of the Kenny Dalglish era – when the £50m received for Fernando Torres provided a reason for paying a premium price for Carroll – prompted an opposite reaction last Friday when Fulham were asking £7m for Dempsey. Henry did not reveal in his letter who in the Liverpool hierarchy decided that such a price was too high for a player who scored 23 goals last season, though he did hint at FSG's aversion to signing older players. "Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, short-term quick fixes that will only contribute for a couple of years," he said.

A series of events contributed to the Dempsey deal not going ahead. Jordan Henderson, offered as makeweight in that deal, had decided by last Thursday that he did not want to move to Craven Cottage. Liverpool also now accept that Fulham's deep sense of grievance about the events of a messy summer, where the Dempsey deal was concerned, proved significant, leading the London club to quote Liverpool a higher price than for others. Irked by the knowledge that Aston Villa had been asked for considerably less – £4m-£5m – Liverpool rejected Fulham's price on a point of principle. In retrospect, a headline posted in error on FSG's own website while the club were on tour in the United States in July – "Liverpool gear up for North American Tour as Clint Dempsey joins club" – has proved calamitous.

Henry's letter was unable to absolve the owners or the club of the disastrous decision not to attach a caveat to discussions with West Ham, which would have prevented Carroll leaving Anfield if no replacement for him came in last week. Neither did it identify the advisers who convinced FSG to go against Rodgers' wishes on buying Dempsey outlay – when it was FSG who were persuaded by Rodgers, for better or worse, that the Northern Irishman should possess the powers they had wanted to invest in a director of football.

But the statement did bear out the sense of FSG as owners with an enlightened financial philosophy to "buy prudently and cleverly and never again waste resources on inflated transfer fees and unrealistic wages". The letter provided the latest of many Henry communications about the club's determination to adhere to Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regime.

It is as yet unclear where Liverpool stand with FFP compliance as the 2011-12 and 2012-13 accounts will be used. Aggregate losses of €45m (£35.8m) will be permitted in those two financial years, as the regime is eased in.

The owners are willing to accept a mid-table position for Liverpool this season, as the price for adhering to their philosophy. This will be a long, bumpy road to recovery but, despite supporters' expectations, it is the only one.

Henry's letter

"I am as disappointed as anyone connected with the club that we were unable to add further to our strike force in this summer transfer window, but that was not through any lack of desire or effort on the part of all of those involved."

"The transfer policy was not about cutting costs. It was – and will be in the future – about getting maximum value for what is spent so that we can build quality and depth."

"Spending is not merely about buying talent. Our ambitions do not lie in cementing a mid-table place with expensive, quick fixes."

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?