What Should Manchester United Do With Dimitar Berbatov?

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As the summer transfer window begins to draw to a close, most of the big named transfers have already taken place.  There is one exception, however, as Manchester United striker Demitar Berbatov sits on the bench unsure about his place with the squad.  The Bulgarian’s contract has a few months remaining on his current contract, but United has made little effort to resign the forward.  So at this point, it would make sense financially to let Berbatov go on the transfer market.

Berbatov put in a solid showing for the Reds last season as he provided a goal scoring presence for the club when Wayne Rooney was going through his self-inflicted difficulties.  In the end, Berbatov lead the Premier League in goals.  There was some controversy in this; as thirteen of his twenty goals came against the backlines of the likes of Newcastle, West Ham, Blackburn, Birmingham, and Blackpool.  Berbatov has always been considered a languid forward that has the remarkable ability to keep possession of the ball.  But he also has the ability to drift out of matches which often times makes him appear lazy.  Despite his efforts last season, as the season moved on Berbatov was passed over in the starting eleven by Chicharito Hernandez more times than not.  Then in the Champions League Final, he was replaced as a reserve by veteran Michael Owen.  This led many to believe that Berbatov’s days at Old Trafford were coming to an end.

But Sir Alex Ferguson has stuck by the striker this offseason.  Despite having a bulk of forwards on the roster after re-signing the aging Michael Owen, Ferguson resisted offers to send Berbatov to clubs like Inter Milan and Paris Saint Germain.  As the new season begins, Berbatov has found himself as the fourth choice at striker behind Rooney, Chicharito, and the young Danny Welbeck.  It appears that Ferguson prefers to go with youth and pace to add to the explosiveness of United’s counter attack.  Welbeck’s return from loan at Sunderland has been particularly troublesome for Berbatov’s chances as Welbeck has more burst in his game and comes at a smaller salary.

This tactic deployed by Ferguson has been somewhat curious because if Berbatov is not re-signed after this season, United risk losing him on a Bosman.  Wouldn’t it make sense for Sir Alex to try and sell him now, no matter what the cost, just to try and recoup some of the thirty million that was originally spent on him?  Even if United received half of what they spent, isn’t that better than zero?

There are a couple of possibilities about why United are hanging onto Berbatov at this point.  First, they could be waiting until the January transfer window to see if there are any better offers for him.  United also could be waiting to see if they need any reinforcements for the second half of the season and use Berbatov in some kind of trade.  Lastly, the club holds a one-way option, which enabled them to add another twelve months on to the thirty year-old’s deal at any time of their choosing.  If United eventually choose to pick up the contract option, they could try and sell Berbatov next season.

If United choose to keep Berbatov this season, he will undoubtedly get playing time at some point.  Chicharito has already picked up a knock this season.  Welbeck missed a large chunk of time last season due to an injury and with all of fixtures on the schedule, Rooney will need rest as the season goes on.  But more than likely, if he does stay with the Reds, Berbatov runs the risk of being a very expensive League and F.A. Cup player and Ferguson could miss out on cashing in on a valued player.

29 thoughts on “What Should Manchester United Do With Dimitar Berbatov?”

  1. Some days I like Berbatov and some days I don’t. It’s undeniable that his skill is world class but he does not seem to fit in to the style that United plays. They should sell him just because he is going to sit on the bench behind Rooney and Hernandez, and maybe now Welbeck. Time to give Macheda the 4th striker slot.

    1. Send him back to Spurs. We need a solid striking presence. Right now, there’s no reliable, go-to striker. Berbatov might just fit the bill. That is, if Harry would have him back.

      1. Not gonna happen. Berbatov’s wages are too high. So, the only way the move could be completed would be on a loan deal where Man United agreed to pay the wages Tottenham wouldn’t (probably anything above 80,000 a week). I don’t see that happening. I am a Spurs fan and for now, it appears we will have to hope Adebayor decides to focus and prove himself all season long. If he does, we are a top four contender, if he fades in and out, we will struggle to score all season again.

  2. macheda? don’t think so he’s not up to scratch. and welbeck was awful in the first half, so he’s not perfect too as so many people do think. berbatov is a class united need some class as is so little left. all clubs around beefing up with players like mata, nasri, aguero and so on, united keep hoping that cleverley somehow will be the answer. its because f*ucking leeches glazers stealing our money . they are a disgrace of a owner

    1. As a neutral observer, I have admired what MUFC have been able to do with so many young players. Even Rooney is only 25!

      Rooney, Chicharito, Welbeck, Nani, Anderson, Cleverly, Phil Jones, Smalling, Fabio, Rafael, De Gea — they could start 11 players 25 and under that I would take as the favorite against any team in the world besides Barcelona and RM.

      I’d rather have Cleverly for free than Nasri at the price that was paid.

    2. What the hell are you talking about who thinks Welbeck is perfect? No one said that if I can read properly. Just because Man U weren’t impressive against Tottenham in the first half doesn’t mean he won’t be impressive in the next matches in the first halves . We lacked creativity in the first half , that affected Welbeck’s play obviously , you saw we increased the creativity and the goals started to flow soon after . WELBECK Was very good today in the first half ’til he got injured , he actually scored today fool In the first half . EMPHASIS On the first half .

  3. SAF is not selling Berbs at this point for several reasons:

    1) Resale value – he is 30 with one year left on the contract, there is no crazy fee to cash in on there.
    2) Renewal option – if he continues to perform well Utd can re-sign him and negate any risk of him leaving on a free. an amazing option to have.
    3) Impact sub – he plays a different style than the rest of the Utd strikers, his option offers SAF flexibility in style of play.
    3a) CL – His skills are very suited to European games
    4) Reliable – The rest of the strikeforce is still very young. Berbs brings experience and mental strength. A couple injuries and a loss of confidence of the kids and people’s tune will change about his importance to the team.
    5) Who else is going to do Andy Garcia impressions?

  4. He doesn’t have just a few months left on his contract. Utd have a one year option on his contract at the end of the 2012 season that’s why they are in no rush to sell him.

    If a decent bid comes in for him before the end of the transfer window i think Utd will accept. His just doesn’t fit into the fast counter attacking style we play most weeks, great player just at the wrong club.

  5. As I began my own Manchester United-oriented blog with an ode to our boy Dimi, you can expect me to back this guy to the hilt. Of course Manchester United should keep him. He led the league in scoring last season…. The author makes some good points, as does FootieFinance above, to which I woul add some further questions: The question is not what to do about Berba… Rather, the question should be how many unbelievable striking options should/can United keep? I can understand four strikers — two “go to” guys, and two second options for Champions League group stages, Carling Cup, early round FA Cup, etc. But where does that leave Michael Owen? Federico Macheda? Mame Biram Diouf? MUFC now has about 7 guys who would start for most teams in the League. It’s a true embarrasment of riches. But mark me down as a big — make that huge — Berbatov fan. The guy’s skills are unparalleled.

  6. Berbatov doesn’t deserve to be on the bench, period. He is a few classes above Welbeck and is a better quality footballer by a long, long way. He should leave by his own accord, because he deserves better. Then I would like to see who is going to score 20 + goals the next time Rooney goes off the rails. Welbeck? Owen Perhaps? Don’t make me laugh!

  7. As mentioned above, squad flexibility and depth are critical when battling on multiple fronts, especially in the spring; you have to expect at least one striker to go down during a long season. Berb is well paid, and wouldn’t necessarily get better pay if sold. He is at an age where playing fewer games can actually extend his career (like Owen). Yeah, he had to suck it up re: CL final, but all-in-all he can’t complain. Great skills to have on the bench as a supersub when MU tactically struggling.

  8. He should come to Newcastle on loan. Might be an issue with wages, but he was boyhood fan, we would get #9, and be the “top dog” at the club which would suit his ego. Newcastle no threat to United anyway, and in desperate need of goals, so it wouldn’t do any harm!..ah we can dream eh??

  9. Sell Berbatov. Rooney, Welbeck, and Chicharito are all fast players and Owen is fine as the number 4 striker. Berbatov slows the play down too much and truthfully, Tevez was the much better option for United than Berbatov. The counter attacking style United play doesn’t suit Berba’s game (or Berba’s slow style doesn’t suit United).

    1. I guess you did not see that pass to young against west brom when we were tied. body it came from berba. Did you even watch the Game? That pass did not come from waza, chicharito, walbeck nor cleverly. We are not selling him to any other club. Because of berb we won the league last year. He carried the team when waza had his issues. Don’t be ungreatfyl. give the man his dues.

  10. I am a huge Berbatov fan and that guy should be starting every single game this season. The man’s an angel; never complains, is always up for the challenge, loyal to the club, one of the most technically-gifted players in the football world and can do things with a football that can leave one speechless. He’s THE player who makes one fall in love with football all over again. We need this guy, period.

  11. Since day One of His Signing, I was against Berbatov Joining Man United. At that time we had Tevez And Rooney Upfront Doing well. He Is A World Class Player But He Never Was Going to fit in our system, the same way Ibrahamovic didnt fit in Barca. Now that he is here, we really can’t let him go, his experience alone is vital. Would rather have him than injury-prone Michael Owen. Welbeck Is On form and you cant put a player on form on the bench so its unfortunate for Berba. I trust Sir Alex judgement, he will get the strike department right. For now, Diouf must be sold and Macheda Sent Out On Loan To Blackburn

    1. We should let him go he is a wolrd class striker just doesn’t fit United. I think he would be perfect for Arsenal or a Serie A side, just not united. Didn’t think we needed him then and we don’t need him now, but given the player he is and the gentleman he has been throughout his time he deserves to be playing somewhere. Wenger should make a bid but it would probably be another derisory bid.

  12. I think SAF should play Berba as a creative midfielder. He can hold the ball and feed perfect passes, and score goals. What do you guys think?

    1. Dean – these days, (even creative) midfielders have to track back and perform defensive duties. I’m not too sure the Bulgarian is up to it

    2. I think you’re on crystal meth if you think Berbatov, a lazy forward, could play anywhere in the midfield for Manchester United.

  13. He’s a shocking player he never turns up in the big games and he slows Uniteds play down which is fast counter attacking football we should sell him and put the money towards Sneijder.

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