There is another exclusive in the Sun this morning that Manchester United are after Michael Owen â€“ and are willing to offer Alan Smith to Newcastle in part exchange.
Last Friday’s Daily Mirror exclusive had us having won the battle to buy Smith for â‚¤3.4M â€“ only on Monday for that to change to Middlesbrough getting him for â‚¤6M. Since he was on vacation in Florida – manager Gareth Southgate was even going to jet out there to seal the deal.
None of this happened of course. Let’s just say the credibility of these Sun and Daily Mirror exclusives leaves much to be desired. The Sun report suggests that Manchester will offer â‚¤4M plus Alan Smith for Owen. The unfortunate thing for Newcastle and Sam Allardyce is that they cannot do much about these reports – which can presumably continue until 31st August. This is not at all good for the club and as Sam said yesterday:
â€œEveryone knows the clause situation Oba has. That leaves us in a very poor position. â€œIf those clauses are invoked, there is nothing we can do about it. â€œI want to plan for Owen and Martins to start the season.
â€œBut at some point between now and the end of August, I might lose those types of players. That would be a massive blow.â€
What does this mean to Newcastle? It suggests these reports will continue – whether true or not – until Owen (and Martins) say something – or we somehow re-negotiate their contracts. But we can only renegotiate contracts if the players and their agents are willing to do it. Maybe they should think a little more about the club employing them rather than themselves.
They can either commit to Newcastle or leave â€“ that would just about fix the problem. Since training starts next week that would be a good time to talk â€“ and as far as we are concerned it is now more important about telling us what their intentions are. Sam needs to know if he can count on them next season and he needs to know now – so he can plan one way or the other.
Of course – to be fair to the players – the problem was created by the club itself by allowing these release clauses in the contracts in the first place. Not surprisingly Sam is furious about it – which is not too surprising.
We feel Owen has stayed quiet about all these stories because he wants to test the market â€“ and he would only be interested in a top four club. Arsenal have been linked and Manchester United have also been linked – even before this Sun report. Liverpool may be Owen’s stated preference but it looks like Rafa Benetiz prefers other players at Liverpool â€“ like Fernando Torres.
If they do go â€“ especially late in the transfer window – that could be a massive blow because Sam will not be able to do much at that point. That means we may be caught out again â€“ as we were last summer with defenders â€“ when we didn’t have enough at midnight on 31st August. It certainly seems a bit of a mess – but isn’t it time for some loyalty with these players? We certainly think so and are getting a little tired of all these exclusives linking Owen and Martins to other clubs. It may be good for them â€“ but it’s very bad for the club.