Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen has revealed that his transfer to the Red Devils would have fallen through if Sir Alex Ferguson had managed to sign his target, Karim Benzema in 2009. The Frenchman made his way to Real Madrid from his hometown club Lyon, and he has remained there ever since.
As United missed out on Benzema, the Red Devils moved in for Owen in the summer of 2009, where he went on to clinch the Premier League title. The 2001 Ballon D'Or winner has thanked Benzema for his decision to move to the Bernabeu rather than Old Trafford, much to the displeasure of Liverpool fans.
Benzema is in his ninth season at Real and his two goals in eight appearances across all competitions so far this term and he has now scored 183 times in 373 total outings for the reigning Spanish and European champions. Owen spent eight seasons at Merseyside, scoring more than 100 goals and has been among their most prolific strikers.
"I thank Benzema because without him I would never have gone to Manchester United," he admitted to Canal+, as quoted by Goal. "Ferguson told me that I will only sign if he couldn't get Benzema. And that's what happened."
Benzema, over the years, has been heavily linked with a move to England, with Arsenal among his prime suitors. However, transfer talk has stalled after Benzema put pen to paper on a new four-year contract that reportedly contained a staggering €1bn (£897.5m, $1.1bn) release clause and an annual salary in excess of €7.5m.
Arsenal have also addressed their significant striker weakness over the summer, splashing out a club-record fee of £46.5m to acquire Alexandre Lacazette from Benzema's former employers Lyon. The Frenchman has made a brilliant start to his debut season in the Premier League, scoring six goals in 11 appearances thus far.