Man United's future is in the £20m star Moyes overlooked

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For the most part people take Michael Owen's views on transfers with a proverbial pinch of salt.

His recent claims that Mesut Ozil isn't the world-beating star everyone thinks he is haven't so much kicked the hornets nest as picked it up and thrown it down the stairs.

But while he may be incredibly wrong in that respect, in my mind it's extremely difficult to argue with the other prevalent point he's been arguing; Manchester United signed the wrong Everton midfielder.

Why? Because based on the evidence from this season, they did.

I'm not here to undermine Marouane Fellaini, nor am I going to critique his efforts in a United jersey so far. However Ross Barkley's performances this campaign for Roberto Martinez lend little help to those defending the point that he was the rightful second choice target for David Moyes behind the big Belgian.

Owen bases his argument upon the fact that by acquiring Barkley instead of Fellaini, Moyes would have sent out a real message to the rest of his side's Premier League rivals that United would be re-building anew under his management, not attempting to revamp the dregs of the team Sir Alex Ferguson's left behind.

Barkley so far this season has not only handed credence to the theory that he plays with experience far beyond his years, but also that he's more than ready to handle the physical element of England's elite division; a step-up that many would-be starlets struggle to make until they're fully developed.

Regardless, Moyes opted to sign his tried and trusted destrier in Fellaini- which at the time was the far more viable option.

The true test of the former Everton boss' character and insight will now be found in whether or not he chooses to admit whatever shortcomings he's rightly or wrongly accused of and tries to sign Barkley in January.

Amongst United's myriad of talented transfer targets for next month the England international should stand on a plinth of his own.

Not only does he have the required presence and proven quality in the Premier League, but he's likely to cost considerably less than the exotic individuals that Moyes has his foreign scouts courting. At a mooted £20million it's a relative bargain, all things considered.

On top of that I truly believe that the 19-year-old has the sort of redoubtable traits that will one day make for an ideal captain, particularly given the effort and passion he exerts from the centre of midfield.

Would he provide instantaneous change and a shift in ambitions similar to if they'd managed to capture the likes of Gareth Bale or Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer months? No.

But he would go some way to showcasing Moyes' intentions at a time when the fans need to see that he's planning for future success, not just immediate stability.

Michael Owen can't claim to be a very credible pundit, nor can it be promised that he's ever going to make his way into a list of footballing brainiacs. On this occasion though he's got it spot on.

Moyes can't change the past, but he can quite easily change the future.

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Premier League
Manchester United

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