Owen signs new Man Utd contract

Sir Alex Ferguson has handed Michael Owen a one-year contract extension at Manchester United and says he will try to use him more next season.

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 on Tuesday 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.

Source: Team Talk
Date Published: 1 June 2011

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Have your say on Owen signs new Man Utd contract in the United Online forum

I do think Fergie wants him out and that it was a snub. When Owen makes the bench ahead of you it says a lot. Think of it this way, we now have a squad size issue and there is no room to carry people, which is why Hargreaves couldn't be given pay as you play deal. This is also the last chance to get any cash for Berba before he goes on a free.

- Oli

Do you think Fergie wants him out though? Some people have made that inference but as far as I can tell it is solely based on not making the CL final bench, which has nothing to do with anything (I don't think Fergie wants to get rid of Rafael, Evans or O'Shea either).

- fenwar

Irrelevant if Berba wants to stay, is SAF's decision.

- Oli

It sounds like Berbatov wants to stay though, and I think there is still a role for him - particularly against teams that park the bus. Depending on what signings we make in midfield, we might also be better equipped to play 4-4-2 without depending on one striker coming deep to prevent us being overrun in the middle. Even then I still can't see him being in the starting line up for the bigger games, but I don't think he would leave United just because he was on the bench, and I don't think Fergie is aiming to force him out. If we do cash in then it's only likely to be because someone wants him as a makeweight. I would be sad to see him go, but if it meant Welbeck getting a regular chance to bring his form from Wearside to OT it just might be worth it.

- fenwar

I don't mind having Owen as back-up playing in the domestic cups, 20-30 minute runouts from the bench etc., but what if there's an injury to Rooney? I wouldn't want to be relying on Owen (himself extremely injury-prone) to spearhead a title challenge, and I can't imagine he and Hernandez would make a very great pairing... unless, of course, we buy someone like Schneider who can play just off a single striker.

- Neil

I was under the impression Macheda would be back with United next season (unless we get an offer for him I guess?) Anyway, hopefully our younger strikers can all learn something from Owen. (And that probably includes Rooney and Chicharito...)

- fenwar

Must say that I'm a little surprised as I was fully expecting us not to renew his contract and see him leave on a free. The only conclusion that I can come to is that Berbatov is on his way out and keeping Owen at the club gives us a little depth that we'd have lost if we were to lose two strikers.

- Dave