Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher says he tried and failed to convince Rafa Benitez to bring Michael Owen back to Anfield in 2009.
Owen joined Manchester United on a free transfer and Carragher said on his Greatest Game podcast he told Rafa Benitez to hijack that move.
He said: “Someone told me, I got wind of it and I phoned you straight away, you went ‘I am signing in two days’. I got in touch with Rafa, said ‘Owen is on a free and he is about to sign for Man United in two days. Whether you like him or not, do it to stump Man United.’
“He is happy to sit on the bench, whatever. You look at it now and I think we had just signed David Ngog and they were like ‘no we don’t want to do it, let it go’.”
TBR’s View – Ngog or Owen shouldn’t have been a difficult choice
Robbie Fowler got a shock return to Liverpool under Benitez, which proves he wasn’t adverse to reopening ties with club legends.
Signing Ngog and not Owen underlines everything which was wrong with Liverpool’s transfer policy at the time. They got themselves into good positions in the league but then didn’t make the right additions to push on to the next level.
Having Owen to bring off the bench as cover for Fernando Torres would likely have given the club a lift, with nabbing a player from under the noses of Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson an added bonus.
It wasn’t to be, and now Owen’s standing within the Reds fanbase isn’t the same as the likes of Fowler or Carragher.