The Berbatov Dilemma
A casual swing of his boot to release Antonio Valencia, a good cross to Wayne Rooney and the West Ham defence was breached. That incisive move was repeated early in the second half with what appeared to be ridiculous ease. A cleverly disguised pass inside a defender, Valencia puts it on the head of Rooney and to all intents and purposes the three points were in the bag!
While the roles of Valencia and Rooney must not be underestimated, the key man in the instigation of these moves was.…Dimitar Berbatov! Yes, the same Berba who has managed to divide the Old Trafford faithful ever since his big money move from Tottenham at the start of last season.
Football has always been, and will continue to be a game of opinions, which is why it attracts so many arguments in pubs and comments on internet forums. The Bulgarian can be such a frustrating player to watch, a touch of brilliance one minute then completely drifting out of the game giving the impression that he’s just not interested.
So let’s try and find something that everyone may be able to agree upon.
Berbatov has to be the most technically gifted player United has had since the memorable days of Eric Cantona. Certainly nowhere near as influential but one who possesses a high degree of technique rarely found in the Premier League.
The problem for Berbatov may be that English fans appreciate the passion of a Carlos Tevez or the fire in the belly of a Wayne Rooney far more than the ice cool, ticking brain and laid back appearance that Berba projects. It certainly does NOT make him a lazy player however, his mind is always working overtime.
Sir Alex quite possibly understands this, it could be the reason why he perseveres with trying to build a Rooney/Berbatov combination which in time could prove to be a devastating one.
Remember that Berba had a couple of highly impressive seasons in an ordinary Spurs team which is why Ferguson was so determined to pay in excess of 30 million pounds for his signature.
Was he worth that sort of money? All indications are that Sir Alex knew 12 months earlier that he was going to get 80 million for Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of the 2008/09 season. He also knew that the move will inflate the market resulting in Spurs demanding around 40 to 45 million for Berbatov had he waited for the cheque to come in from Real Madrid.
One school of thought is that despite his undoubted quality, Berbatov simply does not fit into the system at United. On the other hand, since when can a player have too much natural, instinctive talent to be a luxury at any club?
The burning question among United fans now is whether Ferguson should cash in on Berbatov in order to bring in somebody like David Villa or someone that the World Cup in summer may throw up?
Another reasonable question must also be asked. Will Ferguson be able to use whatever money he may get for Berbatov to replace him or will it go straight into the bank to help reduce the Glazer debt just like the 80m obtained for Ronaldo arguably did?
The World Cup in June may well provide the answer. Bulgaria will not be participating in the month long football festival allowing Berbatov to have a good summer break in which he can fully recover from the troublesome knee injury that he has been carrying.
That, together with the possible emergence of some wonderful new talent in South Africa may well be the key to which way Sir Alex decides to go.
What do you think? Would you like to see Berbatov playing AGAINST Manchester United next season?