He is the equivalent to Marmite on the Old Trafford terraces. Some call him lazy, others call him sensational. Whilst his future at United is uncertain, Dimitar Berbatov has come out with fighting talk, stating his desire to stay at the club on Bulgarian television.
“I will stay. I will fight for the 20th title…’If I were an easy quitter, I would never have made it this far. Everything at Manchester United starts from scratch for me on July 4.’
The Bulgarian has been rumoured to be wanted by Paris Saint Germain, who announced in May that a super-rich Qatar Investment Authority bought a controlling 70% stake in the club.
Colony Capital and Butler Capital partners remained as minority shareholders with 30% and 4.2% of the stakes respectively. Now PSG have the financial muscle, rumours surfaced that a £12million bid has been submitted to the hierarchy at Old Trafford.
There’s no doubt money would be on offer for Berbatov under the rich new shareholders in Paris, but in the end it might not be the players own decision whether he stays or not.
Countless times towards the end of the season it appeared that the writing was on the wall for the Bulgarian, who was not even given a place in the squad for the Champions League final against Barcelona in May.
Instead the attacking place on the bench was given to Michael Owen, who only made 17 appearances during the 2010/2011 campaign, scoring five goals.
Unfortunately for Berbatov, last season United also unearthed the gem that will be the spearhead of the attack for many years to come in Javier Heranadez. Chicharito has been in flying form since his arrival from Chivas, and the Mexican international has formed a formidable partnership with Wayne Rooney.
The two have looked lively together and their partnership really clicked in the second half of the season. They are Manchester United’s future up top which is a harsh reality for our no.9 sadly.
Berbatov looked like a player reborn this season, and it is clear for all to see he has developed his game this campaign. His guile and excellent first touch were used in a more direct way this season, and the Bulgarian benefited from Wayne Rooney’s poor form in the early months.
Without his 20 league goals – of which the majority came in the first half of the season – United wouldn’t have won their 19th record-breaking title. Even if he’s not going to be first choice for United next season, Berbatov can still be a potent option to bring off the bench alongside Michael Owen.
His touch and class can win a game in an instant. Although many United fans call him lazy and lethargic, his ability to float effortlessly between midfield and attack is very rarely noticed.
The six time Bulgarian player of the year also possesses one of the best first touches in the game, possibly one of the best in world football, emphasised by this video.
Many say the former Bayer Leverkusen man would have more ambition than to move to France. Berbatov has said he would like to stay, but money can always turn a player’s head and at the age of 30, he might want his final years as a player to be as relaxed as his languid style.
Shortly after Berbatov was signed, Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say: “Dimitar is a great player, you can see the quality. He is fantastic. There are very few players who can produce moments like he does in games. It can decide them.”
And for that reason, Berbatov should stay at the club. If the golden boot winner is willing to fight for his place, then he is a brilliant option, and will put pressure on Hernandez and Rooney both to perform.
Yet if he is let go, love him or loathe him, his elegance has been a joy to behold in Manchester since his signing from Spurs three seasons ago.
By Matt Joyce – @MattJoyce92