OWEN WANTED DEFOE AT NEWCASTLE

Former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Man United striker Michael Owen has said that Bournemouth's new addition Jermain Defoe is the last in-demand striker that has similarities with him, and wishes he had gone to his former club Newcastle United, who are struggling for striking options since their promotion to the Premier League.

The BT Sport pundit said that football clubs nowadays seem to prefer tall players that are powerful and versatile these days as opposed to strikers that have a similar playing style as him.

“I was unique in that I was small and lightening fast. Abnormally so for someone of my height. Nowadays you don’t get many strikers of my size,” Owen told Goal. “Jermaine Defoe is one like me but they are a dying breed, the type I was,” he added. The retired star named Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann as an exception as clubs preferred to have just one big striker these days, certainly since the days that Didier Drogba was terrorising defences, and now people like Romelu Lukaku taking over the mantle.

Owen feels two strikers can still be used in modern day football even though it is rare now. He says that when three defenders play, then a free man can join the usual in front. “We might be getting two strikers again. It is certainly starting to be more three at the back. I just think that the last generation in the last 15 years, we went back to big number 9s who could do everything.”

He also touched on his former club, Newcastle United, who he thinks could havebenefitted from a striker such as Defoe - even if the fact that he was playing for Sunderland last season would seem to preclude him from moving across to the Toon. At the time of publishing, Newcastle are amongst the favourites to be relegated in the 2017/18 season, though the odds change all the time and you can click here for more info - if and when Newcastle make a new signing their odds will undoubtely change to reflect it.

After seeing the club through the difficult phase of relegation to the second tier and back to the top flight, along with a silverware, Rafa Benitez is expected to reap the fruits of his labour. The Spaniard is poised to manage the team for at least a year in the Premier League but it seems there are many issues to be ironed out else he walks.

As the team begins pre-season training, Benitez’s body language shows that he is disappointed with their transfers so far, with the Magpies boss wanting the club to add more players in time so the team can gel ahead of the resumption of the league next month.

The former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager is unsatisfied with the lack of reinforcements – an essential ingredient to remain in the top flight after only going down recently. For now, the only signing remains Christian Atsu, gotten for £6 million, with another striker, ideally with Premier League experience, key to staying up according to Owen.

Not too long ago, the owner Mike Ashley had promised to make funds available for new players to consolidate on the recent stability and growth of the club. There have been rumours of planned exit by the Spaniard but that is too much a bite. The coach opted against a deserved summer holiday so he could fine-tune requirements ahead of the new term – like seeing off the club’s former scout Graham Carr who wielded too much influence.

There are a lot of issues to be thrashed out at the club as they return to the top flight but Ashley needs to give assurances to the manager if he wants him to remain at the club for a while longer, as many have come to believe.

As the club focuses on younger players below 26, Ashley better be ready to break Freddy Shepherd’s expenses to land Michael Owen in 2005. The club chief seems focused on not exceeding the £15 million benchmark for a single player.