CBC Sports Online's soccer expert, John Molinaro, takes you inside the world of soccer and offers his insights about the action on the pitch and in the front office.
Owen Hargreaves is overrated
Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | 12:39 PM ET
Manchester United has long been an admirer of Calgary-born Owen Hargreaves, who happens to play for German club Bayern Munich.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has tabled several offers for the England international midfielder, including a 25-million € package last September. Bayern has spurned United’s advances, repeatedly telling them that the Canadian is not for sale under any circumstances.
Last week, though, Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer said the club would consider selling Hargreaves if United forked over 30 million €.
"If Manchester United came to see us with that offer of 30 million € that everyone is talking about, we would have to think about it," Beckenbauer told German newspaper Bild.
Now, you could hardly blame Beckenbauer for coming out with such a ridiculous statement – he’s trying to drive up the price of the Canadian.
But 30 million €? Please! To put that number in context, 30 million € (roughly $45.8 million Cda) is more than the NHL salary cap ($44 million).
Ferguson has been looking for someone to replace Roy Keane, a bruising midfield general who struck the fear of God into opponents at the peak of his career, ever since the Irish legend left the club in 2005. But why he seems to think the Canadian can fill that role is beyond rational thinking.
Time for a reality check here folks – Owen Hargreaves is overrated.
Yes, he’s very versatile (he’s able to play in defence or as a defensive midfielder) and yes, he was England’s best player at the World Cup last year (although, that’s not saying much considering England’s lacklustre display in Germany).
Hargreaves works hard on the field, to be sure, but he’s hardly a game-breaker or a type of player that elevates a team.
Think Bayern Munich would be lost without him, or that they could not have dominated the German Bundesliga the way they did the past six years if they didn’t have Hargreaves? Come on.
This is not sour grapes, or the words of someone who is still bitter that Hargreaves decided to play for England (his father’s homeland) instead of Canada.
It’s just stating the obvious: for all the hype surrounding the Canadian, he’s just a slightly better-than-average player. Nothing more, and nothing less.
30 million € for Hargreaves? It is to laugh.
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About the Author
John F. Molinaro is a reporter for CBC Sport Online whose chief love is international soccer. John served as senior editor of Sports Online's Euro 2004 website, which helped him win a CBC.ca Award of Excellence, and was the driving force behind our coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He holds an honours BA in sociology from York University and a print journalism diploma from Sheridan College, and is also the author of The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time (Stewart House, 2002).
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