Manchester United on Wednesday handed striker Michael Owen a surprise new one year contract extension in a move that may cast doubt on Dimitar Berbatov’s future with the Premier League champions.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who awarded the 31-year-old Owen a place on the bench for last Saturday’s Champions League final ahead of Berbatov, said: “Michael has proved to be a top footballer. It is unfortunate that he did not get more opportunities but the form of Chicharito (Javier 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 next season.”
Former Liverpool and England striker Owen commented: “I am delighted to have agreed a one-year extension to my contract. To play alongside so many great players, under an exceptional manager, and in front of so many passionate supporters is a real inspiration.
Van Nistelrooy to sign for Malaga
Hamburg’s Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is about to sign for Spanish first division club Malaga, Spanish media reported Wednesday. The player, who turns 35 on July 1, arrived in the southern Spanish city on Wednesday in a private plane to undergo medical tests and sign a one-year contract, the sports daily AS said on its website.
Chelsea gunning for Belgian Lukaku
Chelsea’s pursuit of the highly-rated Anderlecht forward Romelu Lukaku is gathering pace after the Belgium international indicated he hoped and expected his future to be resolved by early next week.
Anderlecht had originally envisaged raising around £20m through Lukaku’s sale, a fee Chelsea would be reluctant to meet for an 18-year-old with only two years of regular senior football behind him.
Hamburg sign Chelsea’s Mancienne
Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne, loaned out to Wolves for the past three seasons, has signed a four year deal with Bundesliga side Hamburg.
Mancienne said: “Hamburg is a huge club with fantastic tradition and supporters. It’s a challenge to play for them.”
The former England Under-21 international was first loaned out to Wolves in the 2008/09 season, helping them gain promotion to the Premier League.