The transfer window closed just two weeks ago but the rumours for January have begun already.

Michael Owen isn’t playing very much, he’s obviously not thrilled about that and Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier likes him.

Put it all together and what do you get? Owen is leaving United for Villa in January.

“You can only do your best and prepare and train well, so that you are ready when the manager calls on you,” said Owen. “After that, it’s up to the manager who he chooses. It sounds easy, but probably 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. 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?’ You look at highlights of the season, did we win anything, things like that. But I wouldn’t put any goal or appearance totals out there because, at a club like this, you never know when the manager is going to use you.”

Looking back on last season, I think Owen can be fairly happy with what he achieved. He scored the winning goal in what will be remembered as probably the best Manchester derby ever, he scored a hattrick against the German champions in the Champions League, as well as scoring in our 2-1 win over Aston Villa in the League Cup final. Given that was the last part he played in the season thanks to injury, he’s got to be fairly happy with that.

This season might tell a different tale though, with him behind Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and now Javier Hernandez is pecking order.

Which is where new Aston Villa boss, Gerard Houllier, steps in.

“He has always been in my thoughts,” said Houllier. “I like him, as a player and a man. I went to Liverpool on September 4 for Jamie Carragher’s testimonial, and I saw Michael play a half of football. He still has the legs for it.”

But then this is the same man who last week wrote off Villa’s chances for any success this season.

“Aston Villa is not a club on the same level as Liverpool, let’s be objective and honest,” he said. “It’s a club that according to me has belonged between seventh and 12th place in the Premier League.”

Is this a man living in the past? You would think he knew that Aston Villa finished above Liverpool in the league last season. You would also think he’d know that Villa have been a top 6 club for the past three seasons. Maybe he just rates Roy Hodgson more highly than he does himself!