Do United need Berbatov?
It is an odd predicament to be in, but Dimitar Berbatov has found himself humiliated having done very little wrong.
The Bulgarian finished the season joint top scorer with Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez and played a crucial part in winning the title that took United past their arch-rivals Liverpool’s tally of 18 league trophies.
But then came the Champions League final. Berbatov has admitted he was “ashamed” after he had been left out the squad entirely, and watched the game form the dressing room because he couldn’t face the watching eyes in Wembley.
Today the 30-year-old has committed his future to the club, and said he is willing to fight for his place – but is that the right move?
Sir Alex Ferguson hasn’t hid his transfer ambitions for this summer and will likely bring in at least one more attacking option, with Aston Villa’s Ashley Young marked out as a potential second striker option most likely behind Wayne Rooney next season when Javier Hernandez is rested.
With Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda also hoping to develop into first team regulars in the near future and Michael Owen signing a one year contract extension, on face value Berbatov’s appearances in the first team look limited.
But there is a greater problem for Berbatov. While an undoubtedly talented player, there are doubts about what happens to the teams shape when he plays – the reason he was absent from the Champions League.
Both he and Rooney drop deep and wide and two into one just don’t go, and while he has plenty of tricks in his locker, the penetrating through ball the Rooney plays with hernandez on the pitch isn’t one of them.
Ferguson puts an emphasis on his team being effective at their job, and with Berbatov there he seems a luxury extra that can be done away with when it comes to the crunch.
Of course Ferguson rates his ability and any player that can top the goal scoring charts is one worth having, but Berbatov may find himself watching games from the changing room a lot more next season, whether he has the heart to face up to that type of decision remains to be seen.