Is your team signing Owen Hargreaves?

Ambulance

The future of the injury-prone former Manchester United and Manchester City midfielder is still unclear. Clubs including Fulham and Everton have been linked with his signature, could it happen, or is retirement just around the corner?

Owen Hargreaves was one of my favourite players many years ago. I often told people, many of whom were part of the Owen Hargreaves hate campaign just how quality he was.

He has pace, strength, passing ability and an unwavering fitness level. After toiling away for years without recognition it was that tremendous performance against Portugal in 2006 that finally earned him the long overdue plaudits he warranted. With England down to 10-men Hargreaves took it upon himself to make up the numbers.

The everlasting image is him scampering back to tackle Cristiano Ronaldo after covering the length of the pitch in an attacking sense. That performance alone probably won him England Fan’s Player of the Year in 2006. In 2001 he won the Bravo Award given to the best young player in Europe putting him in the company of both the Ronaldo’s, Lionel Messi and Ryan Giggs.

So he is obviously talented, but his consistent troubles with tendinitis of the knee have seen him barely play a game in the past few years.

That said, a pay-as-you-play contract with insurance leeway is negotiable with a man determined to continue playing, despite wide opinion that retirement is his better option.

So who has been linked with signing him recently?

Everton

Last month saw interest in the injury-prone Canadian born midfielder from David Moyes. However that seems unlikely as The Toffees are looking increasingly like bringing in Thomas Hitzlesperger after an impressive trial spell at Goodison

Fulham

Fulham wanted to add midfield depth after Mohamadou Diarra suffered injury. They were linked with Nigel Reo-Coker as well as Hargreves but the recent acquisition of former Middlesbrough midfielder Mickael Tavares seemingly ends any potential interest from Craven Cottage

Southampton

There has been a few rather unfounded rumours abounding that a pay-as-you-play deal at St Marys could help bring experience to a club struggling with the rigours of the Premier League

Lille

This was looking a done deal. He trained with the club and proved his fitness but a dispute over insurance for the fabregie egg knees of Hargreaves scuppered a deal.

MLS

Given his Canadian birth a link stateside is obvious. Last summer Canadian side Toronto FC opted for Torsten Frings over the 31-year-old and there Designated Player slots are currently full. His options are limited; with Columbus Crew, DC United, Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution among contenders. If I was a betting man though a move to Montreal Impact or Philadelphia Union would be my flutter.

Impact currently have Marco Di Vaio as their only DP and bringing the Calgary-born midfielder to the club could be a great deal. However their wage bill is tight considering Nelson Rivas, Bernardo Corradi, Matteo Ferrari and Alessandro Nesta are all also at the club under the DP cap.

Union have Freddy Adu as their sole DP and on the face of it plenty of money to spare so bringing in Hargreaves could be a superb move for the Pennsylvania franchise.

Would you want your team to bring in Hargreaves on a pay-as-you-play deal?

images: © winton, © cradlehall

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