Speaking yesterday, he said:
“We’ve not had the brochure,” adding;
“Would we be interested? No. One, his wages are too expensive. Two, has he got the urge, the bottle and the drive to do what the Premier League wants? It’s a big question.
“I hope he has because he has been a great player. I tried to sign him and said to his agent I would pay £15million to bring him to Wigan and let him leave whenever he wanted. I tried to sign him when he came back from Real Madrid. I told his agent I’d pay the £15million asking price and allow him to move on whenever he pleased, because I wanted him to be playing over here in readiness for the World Cup the following year.”
Of course, he was beaten there by a wise investor called Mr. Freddy Shepherd from Newcastle United.
Whelan continued in his characteristic, blunt fashion;
“But he’s looking a bit injury-prone now and loves his horses. I’m not criticising the lad, he has been a magnificent player and can still do a hell of a job for somebody, but I think he will want to go to a much bigger club than Wigan. Everton and Liverpool might think differently.”
Whelan was welcoming back bright young managerial prospect, Roberto Martinez to the Premiership club on a £1.5 million pound, 3 year contract. Martinez was previously signed by Whelan as a player, 14 years ago.
The urgency for Ashley and Joe Kinnear to renew Owen’s contract at around £90,000 per week for four years seems something of a distant memory now.