Dimitar Berbatov was bought from Tottenham Hotspur for a club record £30.75 million in the 2008 season and has since spent 3 topsy turvy seasons at Old Trafford but rumours are picking up pace that he could be on his way out, with various sources linking Berbatov to a £10 million move to French outfit Paris St Germain. Rumours had been rife surrounding the future of Berbatov after SAF chose to leave the Bulgarian striker out of the squad for the Champions League final against Barcelona. The question now hangs: should United cash in on Berbatov before he could leave on a Bosman next summer or should we hold onto him for another season?
From a financial point of view, it would make sense to cash in on Berbatov this season rather than let him leave on a free next summer. A £30.75 million loss over a 4 year period is depreciation of the highest variety and represents a categorical business error in Lehmann’s terms. However, I am not a Glazer and have no intention of looking at Berbatov merely as a financial asset to Manchester United because he earned my respect last season and as such, deserves it in return. In the previous campaign, Berbatov ran out as the top scorer of the Premier League and got his hands on the Golden Boot with 21 goals and won the hearts over of many fans who questioned his lackadaisical style of play but it is all part in parcel of the Berbatov package. He is unquestionably one of the most talented players in the Premier League with the ball at his feet, the Roger Federer of football for making it all look so easy. His touch, poise and elegance are simply a joy to watch and it would be a shame to think that I wouldn’t be able to see that from him again in a United shirt.
Statistically speaking, he was incredibly important for United en-route to securing their coveted 19th title. United scored a goal every 36 minutes when Berbatov was on the pitch in comparison to 45 minutes when Rooney was playing. He also had the lowest minutes per goal average of all the United strikers with a goal every 105 minutes whereas Rooney had one every 202 minutes. Some may say that statistics are irrelevant but in this case, they show just how central the success of United was to the performances of Berbatov.
Hypothetically if Berbatov was to leave United this summer, then who would replace the goals he scored last season? Javier Hernandez forced Berbatov out of the team with his rise to stardom last season and United would definitely be hoping he can turn in another 20 goal season. Hopes would also be placed on Wayne Rooney re-finding his scoring form but as he excelled in the archetypal number 10 role last season, it would be likely that SAF will utilise Rooney in the same position next season. This points towards Michael Owen and the returning Danny Welbeck replacing the goals for United, something I would have to question. I don’t think that Owen and Welbeck will get 20 goals between them next season let alone on their own and if Rooney or Hernandez was to suffer a long term injury, then United would find themselves very short of attacking options. Whether SAF chooses to get a slight return on Berbatov will be seen in the up and coming weeks but with all eyes on the hole in the midfield, SAF may choose to ignore the financial aspect and let Berbatov see out his United contract, something I hope he does.