In case you hadn’t heard, there is a former Premier League golden boot winner who happens to be one of the most gifted technicians in the entire land up for sale. He’s getting on a bit, but he can still offer pure quality to any team who could accommodate him. Unfortunately though, nobody seems that keen. What’s so wrong about Dimitar Berbatov?
As we look to burst into the final days of August, we’re now reaching the real business end of the transfer window this summer. There will always be chancers willing to leave their business till deadline day, but most teams will be looking to get their team ready and settled before the first game of the season. It would appear as of yet though, that no one particularly fancies bedding in the mercurial Berbatov into their side.
It’s been well documented that the Bulgarian is free to depart Old Trafford this summer. The presence of both Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck has seemingly relegated Berbatov into the role of fourth choice striker. As he said himself: “I love this club, but I am not going to be useful to anyone if I am not playing.” It’s a refreshingly honest statement and one that can’t really be argued with.
Because in truth, Berbatov is simply far too good to be playing fourth fiddle up in Manchester. He seems to have taken some unfair ridicule since his £30million move from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008. His relaxed demeanour hasn’t suited all at Old Trafford, but his scoring record isn’t anywhere near as bad as some seem to portray it. The ex-Bayer Leverkusen man has scored 48 in 108 league appearances for the Red Devils. A strike rate of near-on one in two is hardly child’s play. His exploits in the 2010-11 season saw him share the Barclays Premier League golden boot with Carlos Tevez in a 20-goal haul.
But to focus solely on his goal scoring exploits, which have been consistently good since his early days at CSKA Sofia, is doing Berbatov a massive disservice. Potential suitors wouldn’t just be getting someone who can score goals.
Berbatov’s link up play is just as prolific as his ability in front of the goal. Fire the ball in high or hit the ball in low; in fact, it doesn’t really matter how the midfield or defence decide to knock it up to Berbatov, such is his ability, nine times out of ten he will always keep possession. He can set up goals as well as bury them and his versatility is testament to his outlandish ability.
You could play him front as a lone striker or alongside a partner, as he did with Robbie Keane at Tottenham Hotspur. He could even be deployed as a target man with a difference and he will always bring others into play. Some have pointed to his perceived lack of pace as a potential issue, and although the cliché so often rings hollow, Berbatov’s game doesn’t rely on pace.
He is all about touch, technique and finesse and when you’re as gifted as he is, you don’t need to worry about not having the legs. Hence why his game as a striker means his career at the top flight could be set to last a few more years longer, than say a Darren Bent like figure.
Although at the risk of upetting several animal rights groups and Berbatov fan clubs, are we flogging something of a dead horse though, as we list the Bulgarian’s selling points? The thing is, no one is exactly unaware of Berbatov’s attributes. He has been one of the more high profile footballers of the Barclays Premier League since his arrival in England in 2006. You can’t really not be high profile after a £30million record transfer. Premier League managers no what he’s all about, so where’s all the interest?
If you were to pick one negative in Berbatov’s game, you could make a good case for a suspect work ethic. Berbatov has something of a stigma, which in many cases is warranted, of not really pulling his weight and putting a shift in for the team. Needless to say, he doesn’t like dirty work. And to a vast majority of Premier League teams, this could be a real sticking point. Pragmatism is favoured over flair by many in this league. The stakes are high and there’s a certain breed of British manager who prefer the workhorse to the artist. Even when the artist is as skilful as the Berbatov’s of this world.
But even then, surely Berbatov is simply too talented to ignore. Even though he will in all likeliness have to take a wage cut to stay in the Premier League, he is still going to demand a fair whack. But if, as the man himself has claimed, he is available for a paltry £5million, then surely he’s worth a punt. It just seems too good not to.
Dimitar Berbatov isn’t necessarily everybody’s cup of tea. But it seems startling that no one has made any solid attempts to sign him yet. There may have been some tentative enquiries but as of yet, it seems only Galatasaray have made any real move for the 31-year-old. But he’s still got so much more to offer in the Premier League.
They say fortune favours the brave. Even then, it seems bizzare that we should be denoting any club looking to sign a player that once cost £30million as courageous. But this is the era that we live in. Dimitar Berbatov must be worth a gamble by another Premier League team.
Can you think of a decent reason why Berbatov’s not been snapped up? Or do you think I’m simply on the books of the Berbatov fan club? Tell me what you think, follow @samuel_antrobus on Twitter and bat me your views.