Legendary Liverpool striker Michael Owen has revealed that he came very close to joining Everton before his controversial move to Manchester United.
Owen scored an incredible 158 goals in 297 appearances for Liverpool in a very successful eight years at the club, helping them to win five major trophies in the process.
The former England star signed for Newcastle in 2005. There, he netted 30 times in 79 appearances. His contract expired in 2009, and was keen to remain in the Premier League.
In an interview with Simon Jordan, Owen has revealed that his first preference was to re-join Liverpool. The Reds didn’t want him, so he almost signed for their Merseyside rivals Everton before Man Utd came knocking.
“When I ran out of contract at Newcastle and was on a Bosman, I phoned Jamie Carragher and said speak to Brendan [Rodgers] and see if he fancies me.
“And he said no, we [Liverpool] are just about to sign [David] N’Gog. He basically said they didn’t need me.
“And time moves on with Torres and Suarez and Liverpool aren’t going to wait for me, I have no resentment whatsoever.
“But I don’t respect resentment the other way, because my first port of call was to go back to the club.
Owen was ‘prepared’ to sign for Everton
Owen went on to describe how he initially only had interest from Everton and Hull City, and was happy to make the move to Goodison Park to play for his ‘boyhood club.’
“After Liverpool said no, I was like… what do you want me to do? My options were Hull City, Everton and Manchester United.
“They were the three teams which came in, in the Premier League. I had had my stint away [in Spain with Real Madrid]. So in the Premier League they were the three teams.
“With all due respect, Hull were in the relegation scrap, I didn’t really want to stay away again and play in a relegation scrap. I was still a decent player.
“Now I’m thinking Everton – I’m going to get absolutely [criticised], but I was prepared to go to Everton.
“I flew to America, David Moyes was on holiday, and played golf and spent a full day with him. I was a boyhood Everton fan but though I am going to be hated now – but I have got no other option.”
Sir Alex lured Owen to Man Utd
Despite speaking to Moyes over a move to Everton, Owen was ultimately convinced to join Man Utd by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Owen explained: “I landed home and literally within a day Nicky Butt phoned me and said just so you know the gaffer is going to call you. I said about what. And he said he wants to sign you.
“I was like you are joking, put the phone down and Sir Alex rang.
“I was like of course I know Liverpool fans were going to hate me [if I join Man Utd] but I was like, what can I do?
Owen spent three years with Man Utd, although struggled for regular game time due to injuries. He made 52 appearances in total for the red Devils, netting 17 times.
The highlight of his Man Utd career was undoubtedly his last-minute winning goal against Manchester City in 2009, which helped the Red Devils beat their local rivals to the Premier League title.