Premier League

Why writing was on the wall at Wembley for this United striker

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What many of us would have done to be a fly on the wall in the Manchester United team hotel, the day Sir Alex Ferguson told the club’s top goal scorer Dimitar Berbatov he would not be in the squad for the biggest game of the season against Barcelona. It was a defining moment in the career of the Bulgarian who has brought eloquence to the Premier League. Where has it all gone so wrong for him at Manchester United?

Well the emergence of Javier Hernandez was explosive and his adaptability to English football surprised even Fergie himself.  The Mexican’s partnership with Wayne Rooney looks set to terrorise defences yet again in 2011/2012 with Sir Alex seemingly losing faith with Berbatov’s attitude and work rate, particularly in the bigger matches. So as Ferguson deliberates over the signing of Wesley Sneijder, it would appear the prospect of selling the 30 year-old former Bulgarian captain to Paris Saint Germain for £18-20m does make business sense. The club have three youngsters in Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf all fit and raring to breakthrough, not least forgetting a certain Michael Owen, who when fit is as good in and around the box as anybody in European football. There is of course the summer capture of Ashley Young who can add even more firepower to Ferguson’s array of attacking options in Nani, Valencia, Park Ji-Sung and of course Ryan Giggs.

As a deal appears imminent, will the Premier League miss Berbatov? Has his flair and ability which dumfounded fans across the world been overruled by his tantrums, sulks, disloyalty (Spurs) and lack of passion?

Or is he just another victim of the so-called ‘Ferguson wrath club’ ? The likes of Van Nistelrooy, Stam, Beckham and Ince have all fallen out of favour with the Scot and yes, those may say Berbatov hasn’t exactly been petulant consistently, what was said during the moment he was told he would not even be on the bench for the Final last May, could well have been the last straw for Ferguson, perhaps in time we will know the full extent of his reaction and what the reasoning is behind the decision to sell the Bulgarian, that is if an agreement can be made.

There is of course an argument that he is 30, and if the new wealthy owners of PSG are prepared to stump up the cash for a player who is only going to depreciate, then United would be mad not to do a deal. His 20 league goals last season suggest he is far from finished yet and a move to Ligue1 could not only reinvigorate him but possibly the quality and reputation of French football.

Love him or loathe him, Dimitar Berbatov has and continues to be a unique talent; a rare breed who has graced the English game with such prodigious ability. Will he be regarded as one of the greatest foreign imports? The list of those is endless and very debatable. He will be remembered as an enigma, the man who quite simply had everything in his locker. Think back to his overheard kick against Liverpool and scissor kicks against Sunderland, Middlesborough (Spurs) and West Ham, and there are many more of course. His turn and finish at the Valley for Spurs and a free-kick at Upton Park stick in mind.

I don’t need to tell you how a good a player he was, his personal website can do that, what I will say is, as a football fan its characters within the sport that we can relate to (forget the money and stereotypes for a minute) that makes certain players special and Berbatov with his smile, was one of those. His presence will be missed if he does leave, but his wondrous ability will live long in the memories of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur fans. are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “” to learn more.

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