Hargreaves finally checks out

So the end is no longer near but final for Owen Hargreaves, released by Manchester United this summer. Four years and so few games later, Hargreaves departs Old Trafford having never fulfilled the potential that persuaded Sir Alex Ferguson to part with £17 million in summer 2007. The 30-year-old midfielder made just 39 appearances for the club in fours years and has not earned a new contract despite recent speculation that he would remain at Old Trafford on a pay-as-you-play basis. It means that the former Bayern Munich man is free to find a new club from June. If any will take him.

Hargreaves was a key man in United’s run to Champions League glory in 2008 but the tendinitis which ruined a career had already set in by then. In truth United should never have acquired a player among the world’s finest destructive midfielders but whose injury record in Germany was far too suspect.

Along the way there have been all too many false dawns. He played just over 30 seconds of United’s end-of-season fixture with Sunderland in May 2010; the only football he played last season. The latest comeback lasted a little longer – six minutes. Such is the Canadian-born midfielder’s luck with injuries in recent years that even that action, against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford last September, was cut short in cruel circumstances. It was Hargreaves first start for United in more than two years.

Hargreaves began on the right side of midfield against Wolves; the role he played so effectively against Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final. The comeback was fleeting though. As Hargreaves played an ambitious ball forward he clutched his left buttock, with his hamstring tweaked and his afternoon’s work over.

The injury against Wolves appeared to sum up Hargreaves time in Manchester. The midfielder traipsed towards the South West corner of the ground and the sanctuary of the home dressing room without the merest glance over his shoulder. Perhaps fearing the indignant reaction from the bench, perhaps it was simply the embarrassment of yet another false dawn. After all Hargreaves’ cost to United, with just 26 starts and 13 substitute appearances, approaches £800,000 per game, or £31 million over the past four years, including transfer fee and wages.

Yet, for all the financial waste United has greatly missed the player, who has never genuinely been replaced by Ferguson. There’s also no denying the time and effort Hargreaves has put into making a comeback from two operations at Dr. Richard Steadman’s Denver clinic to cure persistent patellar tendinitis.

The cruelty is only magnified with the knowledge that many of the player’s problems were not of his own making. When Hargreaves broke his leg playing for Bayern Munich against Arminia Bielefeld in September 2006 the player returned just four months later, appearing during the last two months of the Germans’ campaign. The rapid return ultimately proved disastrous though.

When Hargreaves moved to United in summer 2007 there was little sign of the problems to come but the player would come to blame his speedy return to action and poor injury management by Bayern for the stress placed on both knees. Initially United treated the problem with rest and injections – Hargreaves appeared in 34 games in all competitions during the 2007/8 campaign, scoring a vital penalty against Chelsea during the Champions League final shoot-out that season.

But the curly-haired midfielder appeared in just three games the following season before the pain in his knees forced the player into the hands of the surgeon. The stars’ knees, described as “the worst ever seen” by Steadman in 25 years operating on injured sportsmen, were to show significant degeneration. It led to surgery on his right knee in November 2008 and the left the following January.

Now the midfielder faces a fight to save a career in any form, which has once promises so much. There has been speculation about a return to Canada with MLS outfit Toronto FC, while clubs in England and Germany may take a risk on the player. Indeed, while it Ferguson who has made the final decision on Hargreaves’ future, the Scot believes the player can return.

“This has been a difficult decision knowing how hard the lad has worked to win back his fitness,” said the United manager on Saturday. “But we have made it in the hope he will be able to resurrect his career elsewhere.”

Ultimately it is a cold-hearted decision by the club but one that comes as little surprise. There is, of course, nothing but sympathy for the player who has effectively played no part in the team for three years. Yet United, as the phrase goes, is a cynical club. Today fans bid farewell to Hargreaves; tomorrow attention will turn to his replacement.

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Comments

  1. john says

    im really going to miss him he was a complete midfielder.
    the only good thing about this is i hope fergie doesnt go buy another defensive midfielder i hope he gives paul pogba from our reserve team a chance.

  2. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    only bad thing about this is the history rewriters will continue comin out with the myths about how he was unbelievavle and keane esqe and carried us to glory with his freekicks and whatever, “the complete midfielder” indeed,

    if hed have come back and played he couldve shown how shockin he is, which I’d have thought would be obvious considering we haven’t missed at all

    one fo our worst ever signings regardless of the injuries

  3. tmg says

    will they replace him? M’villa maybe? more likely it will be Cleverly being used in a variety of positions

  4. eddieTheRed says

    A sad end to a sad chapter in Hargreaves life; I thought he had big potential but because of the constant injuries we never got to see it!

  5. Bill says

    Pity really as the lad doesn’t set the transfer fees and his attitude is that of decent pro. Bad luck with injuries has stopped his career at United short. Still won the league and cl though. Would be best to go to one of the Canadian MLS sides.

  6. dozer says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    only bad thing about this is the history rewriters will continue comin out with the myths about how he was unbelievavle and keane esqe and carried us to glory with his freekicks and whatever, “the complete midfielder” indeed,

    if hed have come back and played he couldve shown how shockin he is, which I’d have thought would be obvious considering we haven’t missed at all

    one fo our worst ever signings regardless of the injuries

    Don’t agree that he was bad, but his absence makes him glow, yeah.
    He was a good signing, but not great though.

  7. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    alf you used to slaughter hargreaves as much as me, that four minute wonder show against wolves change your mind or what

  8. han says

    well i sincerely hope he hangs up his boots otherwise the poor guy could end up unable to walk
    v good player but a shame he didn’t show more of his talent in a red shirt

  9. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    alf you used to slaughter hargreaves as much as me, that four minute wonder show against wolves change your mind or what

    I don’t know what your computer says Knobby… but mine is a smiley sign, that says, “I’m with stupid”… it would have been cool if the smiley said, “I agree with that miserable cock, Knobby”, but Ed hasn’t found that smiley yet… point is though… I completely agree with you.
    Well shot… what a waste of wages, and £17 mill.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  10. herbie simms says

    Word is Paul Pogba will replace Hardgreaves. Anyone heard whats happening with our talented young sriker, Nicky Ajose?
    He has been on loan at Bury and he has scored some great goals. Bury also gained promotion. Pogba, Morrison, Cleverley and Wellbeck will feature in the premier team next season, but it could be limited to Carling Cup games.
    Hargreaves doctor says he has the worst knees he has ever seen, so it really looks like Hardgreaves football career is over!

    • mongoletsi says

      Does anybody know if there’s a way to block certain posters? Seriously. I do not want to read anything this clown says.

      HARGREAVES; no “D”… how many fucking times sunshine?

  11. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Blog Commenter said:
    Word is Paul Pogba will replace Hardgreaves. Anyone heard whats happening with our talented young sriker, Nicky Ajose
    He has been on loan at Bury and he has scored some great goals. Bury also gained promotion. Pogba, Morrison, Cleverley and Wellbeck will feature in the premier team next season, but it could be limited to Carling Cup games.
    Hargreaves doctor says he has the worst knees he has ever seen, so it really looks like Hardgreaves football career is over!

    Yeah?… What word is that then Herbie? Where’d you get the latest “scuttlebutt” this time?

    I don’t know why I bother… you are easily the thickest numpty to ever post on Rant!

  12. Griffin says

    Good honest player, but I dont think he will live long in the memory for most of us. Very useful player and a good tackler without having to go to ground like some wild animal e.g. Mascherano.

    Hopefully we will replace him this summer. Might be too early for Pogba. Maybe Lassana Diarra or that type, though I cant see Fergie even giving Madrid the pleasure of us even thinking we’d want one of their players.

  13. herbie simms says

    I get my information out of Manchester and when you see what Iam telling you is true, we will see who is the clown. Do you chekout the official Manchester United website? Do you read the articles put out by SAF and David Gill on their plans for the summer transfer market? I.m sure you don’t, thats why you don’t know whats going on.

  14. herbie simms says

    I read news coming out of Manchester because it is more reliable then the News of the World, Daily Mail etc. I also check news coming out of the BBC and I look for articles coming from SAF himself or David Gill or someone close with the affairs of the club. Like this article about Hardgreaves.
    I knew about this a month ago when Gill stated in an article that Hardgreaves would be realised at the end of the season and that they may take a look at promoting Pogba or buy a replacement. Here it is a month later and we get the story now made public. I also know who the new goalkeeper is but I will not say nothing because I do not like to be disrepected by certain assholes on this website. But you will find out who the new keeper is after the Champions League final.

  15. says

    Blog Commenter said:
    I get my information out of Manchester and when you see what Iam telling you is true, we will see who is the clown. Do you chekout the official Manchester United website? Do you read the articles put out by SAF and David Gill on their plans for the summer transfer market? I.m sure you don’t, thats why you don’t know whats going on.

    Herbie, are you being utterly stupid for a bet or were you simply born that way ??? do you honesty believe that David Gill or Sir Alex would discuss players that they are interested in on the United web site where everybody could look, don’t you think that your taking the naivety just a little to far ? the bit on the official site regarding transfers is called “Transfer SPECULATION” if you don’t know what Speculate means then i´ll tell you Speculate means or one of the meanings Form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence. those names are mentioned in various newspapers with links to the articles in question.

  16. herbie simms says

    Iam not talking about getting information from TRANSFER SPECULATION, that is all rumours. SAF and Gill do not come out and say which players they want to buy but they do mention a player when a deal is just about done and Gill and SAF have said that they have reached an agreement on a new keeper and it will be announced in two weeks. I just happen to know who this keeper is. When I talk about getting information out of Manchester, Iam talking about inside information. There is a process where you can get inside information that is not out in the news.

    • says

      Oooh Herbie do you have ‘contacts’. Are they deep under cover deep throat style contacts? Perhaps we could compare – are your contacts bigger than my contacts? You’re bashing Jessica Gill aren’t you… it’s all pillow talk!

  17. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    Blog Commenter said:
    I read news coming out of Manchester because it is more reliable then the News of the World, Daily Mail etc. I also check news coming out of the BBC and I look for articles coming from SAF himself or David Gill or someone close with the affairs of the club. Like this article about Hardgreaves.
    I knew about this a month ago when Gill stated in an article that Hardgreaves would be realised at the end of the season and that they may take a look at promoting Pogba or buy a replacement. Here it is a month later and we get the story now made public. I also know who the new goalkeeper is but I will not say nothing because I do not like to be disrepected by certain assholes on this website. But you will find out who the new keeper is after the Champions League final.

    Herbie… you are being disrespected for one simple reason… you come here and talk shit… that’s it…

    You say you know what you’re talking about… but until you learn to post the links where you got this information, you are just asking that we take your word for it… who the hell do you think you are, that we should take your word for anything?

    You’ve been asked politely to post links… you’ve been shouted at for it and even called a “dumb fuck” for it, yet you continue to post rumours and speculations, without posting the link to where you get these stories… it is so fuckin easy to do… just copy and paste…

    Whatever… I give up… you’re either too lazy, too thick… or perhaps you think that you’re “the man in the know”, and posting the link is beneath you… all I know is that until you do… your opinion is worthless…

  18. uncleknobheadffsuncleknobheadforfucksake says

    he’s a fucking mentalist who believes his own guff, a proper rant type

    RIP danni

    lkhf

  19. Alfonso BedoyaAlfonso Bedoya says

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    he’s a fucking mentalist who believes his own guff, a proper rant type

    RIP danni

    lkhf

    Yeah, what’s happened to Dannii?

    He working for the Glazers now?

  20. says

    Back to Hargreaves. Sometimes things work out, this time they did not. Looked very closely again at Tunnicliffe, Pogba, Morrison & W. Keane at OT tonight. Tunnicliffe ia obviously the most phyisical developed & has the most nous; comparisons with Nicky Butt at the same age. Pogba & Morrison are both still very raw & are a fair distance from being “first team” contenders. The same goes for Cleverley when I have watched him at Wigan & I suspect Welbeck. Despite the hype all of them are way, way below Giggs, Rooney,Fabregas & going back much further G. Best at the same age. Hope I am proved wrong, but I did see the very young Rooney, Giggs & Best & their talent hit me between the eyes; no such impact with the one’s I have mentioned. One always lives in hope.

    • RedAlert260599 says

      Ian,
      I watched the youth team on Monday. You were right, Tunnicliffe was awesome. I’d compare him more to Gerrard than than Butt though. We’ve got a player there. Hats off to the silver surfer!

  21. says

    Yep Alf I probably am. First saw George in a reserve match Sep 1963 vs West Brom; he then played in the first team against West Brom a week or two later. Think he was 17. Ancient history. The point is everyone who saw his debut realised this was a special talent. Same with Giggs. One knew ……

  22. triggs says

    Blog Commenter said:
    Iam not talking about getting information from TRANSFER SPECULATION, that is all rumours. SAF and Gill do not come out and say which players they want to buy but they do mention a player when a deal is just about done and Gill and SAF have said that they have reached an agreement on a new keeper and it will be announced in two weeks. I just happen to know who this keeper is. When I talk about getting information out of Manchester, Iam talking about inside information. There is a process where you can get inside information that is not out in the news.

    Herbs, we all know the GK is De Gea, you don’t have inside information. I’ve been saying we were going to sign him since Fergie missed the Scunny game to go to Valencia last year. It’s not inside information, it’s making a guess on the information available.
    United are probably going to sign Varane and Ashley Young too. I don’t think this because I’m blowing Mike Phelan (which I’m not at the moment) and have inside information, but because the available transfer speculation suggests that is the case.
    The problem is that you post maybes like they’re definites and that fucks people off. Oh and you think Hargreaves has a ‘d’ in it.

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