A decade ago, a young English player hit a hat trick in a famous 5-1 thumping of Germany that seemingly stamped him as a soon-to-be superstar.
Since then, Michael Owen has assembled an impressive career but has only been able to play one competitive league match in the past two years, and last spring was released by Manchester United. Despite scoring 221 goals in 473 league matches, and 40 goals in 89 international appearances, the best he could do was sign a pay-as-you-play deal with Stoke City.
Though the former Liverpool and Real Madrid player is the biggest name of a summer transfer list that includes Americans Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron, he may have only a modest infuence with Stoke. And the contract is only for one year, with the club not obligated to pay unless he gets on the field.
Owen is Stoke's seventh signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Jamie Ness, Michael Kightly, Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi as well as Edu and Cameron.