It has long been accepted that football is a game of opinions – and long may it remain so. While one can genuinely be believed by many, just as many others will never be able to accept it. It’s one of the reasons that makes the game such an obsession with fans. Which brings me to one name which divides opinions among the Manchester United faithful like no other – Dimitar Berbatov. While few will ever dispute that the Bulgarian is one of the most talented and technically gifted players in the Premier League, a large number insist that he is simply not suited to United and the club will be far better off without him.
Rightly or wrongly, the writing now seems to be on the wall and the critics appear to have won the argument. Sir Alex Ferguson could not have given a stronger indication of it than when he completely omitted Berba from the squad which faced Barcelona in the Champions League Cup Final. I must admit that I still have my doubts however simply because I have always been one of Berbatovs’ greatest admirers.
Let’s not even consider the fact that the man has just shared the Golden Boot award with Manchester Citys’ much admired Carlos Tevez, the nagging doubt in the back of my mind is whether Berba is REALLY a traditional striker despite the £30 plus fee Ferguson paid for him three years ago.
Does anyone remember Johan Cruyff at his peak with Ajax, Barcelona and Holland? Perhaps Michel Platini at Juventus and France? And many others? Where they ever regarded as out and out strikers like many United fans expect Berbatov to be? Of course not.
The bottom line is that despite the many opposite opinions I expect to get, it’s still worth asking what a £25m or more Modric, Sneijder or anyone else can offer Sir Alex in his search for a Paul Scholes replacement when a settled Berbatov is already at Old Trafford?
In addition there’s a fact that must never be forgotten. Young midfielder Tom Cleverley has been coming along in leaps and bounds. In the next couple of seasons he may well become the ‘new’ Scholes without Ferguson having to outlay millions to replace a legend.
Would you like to see Berbatov remaining at Old Trafford?