Michael Owen has revealed that Liverpool had a deal in place to re-sign him during his time at Newcastle United but it “just never happened”.
Owen progressed through the ranks at Liverpool but he left them in 2004 as he joined Real Madrid for £8m.
He scored 16 goals for the Spanish giants in 2004/05 and that proved to be his only season playing in Spain.
The striker returned to England in 2005 as he joined Newcastle United. But he has now revealed that a return to Liverpool was what he wanted:
“[Liverpool] sold me for £8m, and put in a bid of £10m and I thought ‘I’m going to go home’,” Owen explained on BT Sport’s What I Wore.
Owen went onto bring up a conversation that he had with Real Madrid chief executive Florentino Perez:
“I said I’d prefer to go back now, I’ve had a great experience but I’d prefer to go back thinking it’s Liverpool,” Owen recalled.
“[Perez] said, ‘Okay, well it’s Newcastle’, and I was like, ‘What?’ I was told obviously on the QT by Liverpool that they were going to put in a bid so I just assumed it was them.
“I was like no, I’ll go back to Liverpool but I’m not going anywhere else. He said Newcastle have bid £16m, if Liverpool do that then you can go there. But if not, you either stay here or go to Newcastle. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll stay here’, obviously putting on a poker face.”
Owen ended up joining Newcastle but this was done with an agreement that he would leave to go back to Liverpool a year later in 2006:
“I spoke to Liverpool again and said, ‘If you just go to £12m, I’ll hold my nerve and force them into a corner’.
“But Liverpool said, ‘We can only go to £10m’. So then I had a big decision to make. We had just signed Robinho, we already had Ronaldo and Raul.
“We had a World Cup coming up at the end of the year, and I need to play all of the time. I spoke to Newcastle, and Newcastle agreed that if I signed for them, I could do one year and they would then sell me to Liverpool for an agreed fee of £12m.
“Then if I do another year, then they’ll sell me to Liverpool for £8m, and another year for £4m. So every year, it would be more attractive for Liverpool to buy me back.
“The mad thing was I was hopefully going to be going back for £12m, did my knee [at the World Cup], so then Liverpool bought [Fernando] Torres [in 2007] and [Luis] Suarez [in 2011], and it just never happened…at the end of every year, I obviously tried to go back.”
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