Hargreaves Man Utd move officially completed today
Published 01/07/2007 | 15:21
Owen Hargreaves finally completed the formalities of his move to Manchester United and admitted, "It's been a long time coming."
The 26-year-old England midfielder has signed a four-year contract with the Barclays Premier League champions, completing a move from Bayern Munich which was agreed in May but was not formally ratified until today.
Hargreaves told his new club's official website "It was probably the worst-kept secret in football, but it's great to be here."
"I think it's great to finally reach a positive conclusion."
"Especially after all the time and energy that's been put in from everyone involved!"
Canada-born Hargreaves' transfer fee is believed to be in the region of €17million stg.
He joined Bayern from the Calgary Foothills in 1997 and won four Bundesliga titles with Bayern as well as the 2001 Champions League and Intercontinental Cup (World Club Championship).
Hargreaves was a surprise star of England's largely disappointing 2006 World Cup and United tracked his progress closely from that point.
His versatility and willingness to fill in where needed for former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson meant he rarely got a chance in his preferred midfield anchor role, and he became a target of the boo boys before a stirring display against Portugal in the World Cup quarter-finals revived his reputation.
A broken leg suffered in Bundesliga action back in September meant an extended lay-off and forced him to miss England's first competitive games under new coach Steve McClaren.
However, Bayern had insisted the player was not for sale, before finally giving way and allowing the deal to go ahead.
That all changed on May 20 when club president Franz Beckenbauer confirmed the player was leaving.
"Owen Hargreaves will go," Beckenbauer told the DFB-Doppelpass programme on German TV.
"It's also the wish of the player. Everything is right and it is also financially right."
Hargreaves had been contracted to Bayern until 2010.