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Why Manchester United Should Keep Dimitar Berbatov

dimitar berbatov chicharito1 Why Manchester United Should Keep Dimitar Berbatov

Photo by Gordon Marino

During the transfer window, there are many players who become linked with Manchester United. And there are also some United players who are rumored to leave, which seems realistic considering the number of players who’ll possibly come in. One well known footballer rumored to be on his way out is Dimitar Berbatov.

Despite declaring he was staying, that hasn’t stopped the reports about his departure. Such reports include speculation that he would be involved in a player swap with Luka Modric. Clubs like Paris St. Germain have offered around 12 million for the 2010/2011 Premier League Golden Boot winner. Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Roma and Bayern Munich are other clubs also reportedly interested in Berbatov.

Even though there is a lot of outside interest in Berbatov, I hope he stays.  He’s been a loyal player capable of majestic feats of glory. Many have been against him over the years due to his lackadaisical style and, as a result, aggressive forwards like Rooney and Chicharito have been chosen over him in the big matches.

I was shocked that he didn’t even make the bench for the final against Barcelona. I could understand it if he took offense at that exclusion but Berbatov is different from past players like Carlos Tevez. Ironically, Tevez was angry at his lack of playing time due to the Bulgarian which led to his forced sale to City. Berbatov, however, has chosen the success of the team over individual playing time and that is a main reason why I feel United should hold on to him. He understands his role and his contributions in terms of goals, assists and possession are priceless.

However, recent reports from Goal.com have revealed that the Bulgarian and his agent have received no word from United about a contract extension or a new deal even though he has only one year remaining in his current deal. Berbatov’s agent, Emil Dantchev, admitted, “There is no news because we have not heard anything from anyone.” “After we speak to Manchester United, we will know more but now he is very happy to be a Manchester United player.”

“Many clubs would be interested in Dimitar but he wants to stay in Manchester and win more trophies. He has a contract and he is not paying attention to the British media.”

I for one hope United retain the Bulgarian for at least this upcoming season. The much-maligned striker has received a mixed reception from United fans as he has struggled to be effective in United’s fast pace offense and has disappeared in certain matches. Berbatov hasn’t been as prolific in front of the net as many hoped considering his large transfer fee for over 30 million Euros, which I feel is a major catalyst for the negativity he receives.

However, Berbatov’s technical skill in terms of dribbling, first touch, and possession are all indispensable features. One of the greatest aspects of Berbatov’s play is retaining the ball alone against defenders, giving enough time for support to come in and create chances for others. His intelligence and composure on the field calms tension and is so crucial in important matches. Besides his goal-scoring abilities, Berbatov’s way of breaking down defenses has lead to him racking up numerous assists. Berbatov also has repeatedly shown he’s capable of producing the spectacular and his three hat tricks this past year indicates he can single-handedly win matches.

At the end of the day, Dimitar Berbatov has been one of the most polarizing figures in the history of Manchester United. What’s impressive to me is that he’s been able to perform and always show a positive attitude despite often being criticized.  His work rate has always been questioned because he never ran as much as Wayne Rooney, Javier  Hernandez, or Carlos Tevez. However, Berbatov’s determination to contribute to the team has lead to him being part of numerous team honors including two EPL titles. Despite winning the Premier League Golden Boot last year, his detractors will focus more on his quiet second half. Yet, one of the testaments to United is that their deep roster allows them to pick and choose who to play at certain points during the season which is a true sign of a great team. If it wasn’t for Berbatov’s magnificent play in the first half of the season, United would have never had a chance of winning their 19th title.

Some will want nothing more than to be finally rid of the lackadaisical Bulgarian who doesn’t hustle enough. I tend to differ with them and hope that one of the most technically skilled, elegant strikers in the world will stay at Old Trafford.


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About Michael Schwartz

Michael wrote for World Soccer Talk in 2011 and 2012 with pieces that tackled a variety of topics related to the English Premier League and International competitions. He’s now back to continue writing about the Beautiful Game. You can follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelSchwart2
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