Do we need Hargreaves back in?

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Owen Hargreaves

Prior to the World Cup in Germany back in 2006 – the name of Owen Hargreaves wouldn’t get the heart pumping that fast if your club was linked to him with a transfer. Hargreaves used to be ridiculed in this country as Sven’s fall guy and sentence to the embarrassing group of Michael Ricketts, Stuart Downing, Kevin Davies and Jermain Jenas. I was a little more optimistic about Owen in the early and middle part of this decade – however I was unaware of what a good footballer he actually is.

Now like most people in this country – i’m not a massive watcher of German football, except when they play in the Champions League and United aren’t playing. However, when I did watch him play at full back or in the middle of the park – I always thought he was a decent player and when you win a Champions League medal, four Bundesliga titles and three German Football-Federation Cup’s – you know that you have to have some quality.

United were linked for a long time to Owen Hargreaves – with Bayern Munich reluctant to sell on many occasions. The transfer eventually went through in July 2007 and United had landed that industrious midfielder than many fans were crying out for since the departure of Roy Keane in 2005, however some weren’t convinced due to the much inflated price tag. There were many players linked with United since Roy Keane’s exit including Gattuso, Mascherano and Senna – however Fergie opted to the Bayern Munich man once it appeared Senna was unavailable for transfer.

Hargreaves qualities as a player are evident. Firstly, he is versatile and can play either in the middle of the park or on the right. When in the middle, he is at his best when occupying one of the two deeper midfield berths when either playing a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1. In terms of attributes he closes the opposition down extremely well, is a good passer of the ball and can read the game comfortably – he also has a superb freekick on him, which we could use sometimes from the usual smash and grab technique of Ronaldo.

Have we missed him? I was actually thinking of this a couple of weeks ago – despite the fact that we were winning games comfortably. Or do you think that Carrick, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs, Gibson and Fletcher have got enough quality to press the opposition accordingly? Has Hargreaves been a waste of money – considering he has only played a handful of games this season – whilst playing in 35 games last season – thats less that O’Shea. However, remember those games that he played in – the 1-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield, the 2-1 victory over Arsenal (scoring the winning goal in the process) – whilst playing well in the Champions League final and scoring a superb penalty. Hargreaves has been a massive loss for the club and the sooner he gets back playing the better – although I can’t see that any time soon.

6 Comments on Do we need Hargreaves back in?

  1. Nothing against Hargreaves but when he returns back from his injury, it is going to scare the living daylights out of me and I will tell you why. Players can never recover from injuries. Even if its just two months, sometimes they are never the same player again. Hargreaves is going to be out for a year. Even if he does eventually become the player he was, it will take him around a year to get back to that level and by that time he will be 30!

    Honestly, I reckon if Veloso was older at the time Fergie would have gone after him instead but he wanted experience and with us buying Anderson, he didn’t want two young midfielders. He wanted one young one and one experienced one. But if Hargreaves never recovers from his injuries, expect a bid for Veloso if he isn’t taken by then

  2. Good article and fair points Mark. I think Hargreaves is a real quality player, more hussle and better passer than Anderson and lets face it Scholes has only got so much time left. The only thing is the injuries, I wander if he will have to do this Paul McGrath / Ledley King thing of playing and not training……..only thing is, a lot of Hargreaves games is stamina and energy and I guess you lose some of that if you can’t tarin consistently

  3. Hargreaves, the bad- We bought him 2 seasons too late, we paid over the odds, he had injury problems at Bayern so we shouldn’t be surprised at him having problems at United, he ain’t great in possession.

    the good – He was massively important at the end of last season. We couldn’t have played the same impervious 4-6-0 without his versatility and energy. Yes, we could really do with him now. Fletcher and Park have tried to perform a similar role but they don’t have his grit. What we really need is a proper attacking right-back, but that’s another story..

  4. will, fair points, though the negatives you listed have little to do with his ability (for the record I think after Scholes he’s the most comfortable midfielder we have in possession).

    Only time will tell if we miss him – we certainly did against Liverpool, but hopefully that was a blip, and by the end of the season we can be saying “it’s great to have him back to a great squad” rather than bemoaning a lack of success on the absence of one player.

  5. Sure thing mate – It wasn’t a knee jerk reaction blog. Just felt that if you do spend £17Million on a player you will miss him if he is injured. I think he is a class player and the sooner he is back in contention for a first team place the better.

  6. One very important aspect is his big-game mentality. He always seems to be at his very best in the big games, such as the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal and the CL-final last year. We are now entering a stage of the season when I would love to have him around.

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