Liverpool informed ESPN on Tuesday that they are no longer pursuing a move to bring Michael Owen back to Anfield.
Liverpool, though, denied that a combination of the owners’ insistence on Monday that there are “no short-term quick fixes” for the club and a possible backlash from some Liverpool fans were behind the U-turn.
Rodgers did give some thought to a move for Owen, and it is understood that talks took place with the striker’s advisors, but Liverpool have cooled on the idea of bringing in any free agents to bolster a depleted front line.
It follows their failure to buy Clint Dempsey after seeing a £3 million deadline-day offer rejected out of hand, with Liverpool clearly not wishing to sign a player approaching 30 for any kind of sizeable fee. There was also a failed move to acquire Daniel Sturridge on loan as Chelsea failed to bring in a replacement.
A Liverpool source told ESPN: “To be fair to Brendan he was asked at a press conference whether he would consider Michael Owen and he said he would consider everybody. He didn’t slap it down. However, the next day, the media virtually suggested the club were signing Owen.
“Having given the issue some thought, for the moment, the club are not bringing anyone in. There is no one on the agenda although, of course, that could change, but there is nothing doing at the moment.”
Owen’s options are rapidly dwindling. Stoke have told ESPN that they felt that demands of £1.5 million for a two-year deal was excessive, while Sunderland’s interest has cooled and West Ham have told ESPN that they have used all of their transfer budget.
A Stoke source said: “We cannot afford Manchester United- or Liverpool-style wages, not even on a structured deal.” Owen is willing to take a considerable pay-cut for the chance to resume his career and those closest to the forward have told ESPN that the 32-year-old still has a burning desire to play at the highest level and is not simply motivated by money.
“Michael wants to go to a club where he can get more game time, he wants to play and wants a club that gives him the best chance of playing,” a source said. Owen has suggested he will announce his new club on Wednesday.