Dimitar Berbatov continues to be linked with a move away from Manchester United, despite finishing as joint top goal-scorer in the league last season and having a good record when he’s played this campaign.
The Bulgarian’s agent has often said that his client is happy at Old Trafford but the Daily Star has reported that Berbatov is unsure of his future.
In the report, he admits that he is frustrated at the lack of playing time and that it is likely United will activate the one-year-extension clause in his contract – if only to prevent him leaving for free.
“I’m a Manchester United player but I do not currently play as many games as I want. I am not happy that I do not play. When I have something to say, I go and talk face to face with the manager. He decides everything.
“There was nothing concrete as an offer to me [in January]. To my knowledge, the clause to extend my contract for another year is automatically activated in March. I know nothing more.
“I do not know how long I will stay at United.”
Berbatov’s words are far from convincing if he is to have a future at United. He has scored seven goals in his 10 Premier League appearances this season, but has never really been given a decent run in the side.
The 31-year-old has fallen behind Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney in the pecking order, and the £30.75million man is now fourth-choice striker at Old Trafford. It seems that Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to cut his losses and sell Berbatov in the summer, so where he could he go?
Berbatov has a lot of admirers in the Premier League and a move to a another top eight team could be explored. The likes of Everton and Sunderland probably wouldn’t be able to afford the Bulgarian striker, or his wages.
But a move to Newcastle United may be viable. Newcastle have just brought in Papiss Cisse, who already looks like a good striker and is ready to forge a formidable partnership with Demba Ba. Would Alan Pardew be able to resist though, should Berbatov be available for around £12million in the summer?
Newcastle could yet secure and unlikely fourth-place finish and the promise of Champions League football could be enough to persuade Berbatov, along with Newcastle’s tradition of great strikers. Singing Berbatov would be a real sign of intent for Newcastle and if he is available in the summer, I wouldn’t rule out a move to St James’ Park.
Another option for Berbatov could be to return to Germany. Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen were both reported to be interested in a January move and could come back in the summer. Munich would seem the most likely destination to me.
Berbatov has already had a successful spell in Germany with Leverkusen before he moved to Tottenham, and a move back to familiar surroundings, in a league where he knows he is more than capable, might appeal to him.
A move to Spain is unlikely as he wouldn’t get into the Barcelona or Real Madrid first-teams, and the rest of the league is in too much debt to afford him. The only option in Spain would be Malaga, and I imagine they are setting their sights on younger targets.
That leaves a move to Italy. You could imagine the enigmatic Bulgarian settling well in Italy. His style and ability would be revered in Serie A and a move to Juventus has been mooted in the past.
Juventus would probably be the most realistic, with Inter Milan still exploring the possibility of singing Carlos Tevez, and AC Milan already having an impressive roster of strikers. Juve are top of Serie A as they look to rebuild their reputation as one of Europe’s giants, and might look to Berbatov to spearhead their attack next season.
As a United fan, I wouldn’t mind if Berbatov stayed. He is a cult hero who hasn’t put a foot wrong this season, yet finds himself very much on the fringes of the first-team. If he is to leave though, I would imagine the most likely suitors would be Newcastle, Bayern Munich or Juventus.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience