Papers: Houllier eyes Owen
Houllier sets sights on Owen
Gerard Houllier has raised the possibility he will make a January move for Manchester United striker Michael Owen after admitting on French television that the 30 year-old is never far from his thoughts. Houllier is due to be installed formally as Martin O'Neill's replacement at Aston Villa after Saturday's fixture with Bolton. His comments made to Canal+ will fuel speculation his first task, when the January transfer window opens, will be to try to sign Owen, who he worked with at Liverpool. "He has always been in my thoughts," Houllier said. "I like him, as a player and a man. I went to Liverpool on Sept 4 for Jamie Carragher's testimonial, and I saw Michael play a half of football. He still has the legs for it." Owen started just 11 games last season, scoring nine goals, after joining United on a free transfer from Newcastle, and he has been consigned to the bench since starting in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea on 8 August. He appeared as a second-half substitute against Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday night but has fallen behind Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernández and Federico Macheda in the Old Trafford pecking order. Owen's comments after the game suggest he may be open to the prospect of leaving United in search of first-team football. "The most difficult thing is not playing for a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden getting called up and being mentally and physically right to perform well," he said. "At the end of the season, I'll look and think, 'was I happy with the amount of games I was available for? Did I score enough goals in the games when I played?' and 'Did I play well enough in those games?'" Rory Smith, The Telegraph
Most of the papers feature an update on Antonio Valencia following his successful ankle operation as revealed on ManUtd.com on Thursday.