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Berba To Anzhi?

After becoming the Premier League’s top scorer last season, Dimitar Berbatov has found himself as Manchester United’s fourth choice striker this season, behind Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.

Whilst the player has repeatedly spoken about the manager in a respectful way and stated his desire to get back in to the team, his agent, Emil Danchev, has claimed Berbatov would be open to a move away from the club this January.

“We would be interested when Anzhi make a concrete offer,” Danchev said. “We will sit down with Dimitar and ponder this. I don’t know if Dimitar is happy in Manchester. He plays, then he just sits on the bench.”

Anzhi Makhachkala are a Russian club who recently made Samuel Eto’o the best paid player in world football after his move from Inter Milan.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Mr C says:

    @Cedars- Thanks pal and hope you are well. I guess the privilege of seeing the greatest and most entertaining forward line ever assembled by a British club is one of the few benefits of being an old fart. Best was a genius, Sir Bobby was superb – surely the best English player since the war -and Denis simply sublime. It was great fun to watch for a kid!

    Mind you there were many years of disappointment ( Ian Ure? Paddy Roche?) to suffer until SAF and Eric ‘Dieu’ Cantona finally worked their magic on the club and forged the big breakthrough.We owe those two in particular the high uplands we now occupy. Best was possibly the best player ever to play for us but Eric was probably the most important if that makes sense…

    We are so lucky right now…

  2. CedarsDevil says:

    Mr C

    Starting to get better my friend, thanks for asking… I am envious of you though! Mind you I could better that, my late dad watched the BABES live……. Cannot better that eh? Best 11 to ever play the game…

    Seriously though I salute you buddy, my own early days with United had one hero and one alone…. His name was Robbo

  3. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Cedars – “No Berba – No 19″

    Dude I know you are on pills and wish you well soon, however that is just a nonsense statement. nani was our best player last season his assists and all round play. How about:

    No Nani – No 19 – No Vidic – No 19, No Rooney and Pea – No 19. This is what is frustrating about Berba fans a complete lack of perspective that undermines other plays and the Club in a desperate attempt to elevate a player who has not delivered at United, who has lost the managers confidence to deliver and who has been treated very well by the Club and given the same opportunity as everyone else to shine. He did not / could not take his opportunity to establish himself. That is his problem not Uniteds. And fuck anyone blaming Unted coaches, the manager and the Club – seriously Fuck you.

  4. Sparkz says:

    I was suggesting this in the summer and got slated for it.

    Berba, as talented as he is, isn’t the kind of player who can go 3 weeks without playing and still come in to make an impact (i.e Solskjaer or Owen). He needs REGULAR game time to keep his form, rhythm and confidence up. We saw that last season….first 6 months he played regularly and scored a bucketload. After that he lost his place, and when he was called upon, he generally didn’t perform.

    Now Fergie made it clear towards the end of last season that he didn’t see Berba as a first choice. Rooney & Chicha were ahead of him….and I also thought Welbeck should be given his chance ahead of him (something else I got slated for!). So didn’t it make sense for both parties to let him go in the summer?

    He gets to go somewhere where he plays regularly and keep his form up…we would’ve got £10-15m from PSG, for a 30 year old in the last year of his deal. As it is, we’ve just wasted 5 months of his time (although I see what people are saying about him being the “insurance policy”). We may still get a similar amount in January though, and its the best move all round. He’s no use to anybody when he’s sitting on the bench, because as I mentioned above…..he’s not the kinda player who can come in from the cold and make an impact, he needs regular football, which he was never gonna get.

  5. Sparkz says:

    Oh, and can we have a bit of perspective please….from both sides.

    People tryna devalue what Berba did last year are just plain wrong. The guy played a MASSIVE part in us winning #19. I’ve gotta agree with the comments above….no Berba, no #19. For that, it’s pretty ridiculous to say he’s in the same category as Veron, coz his contribution has been far greater than Veron’s.

    At the same time, you’ve got the other side of the coin, where people are blinded by their love for the guy. Like ALL players….Berba has his good points and his bad points. But they seem unable to accept that he’s got his flaws (lack of consistency, didn’t suit the style, rarely turned up in big games). I know we’re Utd fans, but are we supposed to believe that everything’s rosy and there’s no flaws in any of our players’ games?

    Finally, @Goat- You’d rather ship Nani off and move Welbeck out wide just to accomodate Berba? Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but I don’t agree with that one bit!

  6. Fred says:

    NBI – it’s not as if Cedars was crediting Berbatov with singlehandedly winning #19, he was just pointing out that Berbatov was an integral part of it. No-one can deny that, can they?

  7. Fred says:

    I’m sure he’ll be integral to Anzhi winning #1 too. :lol:

    Classless, plastic, nouveau riche bastards.

  8. Manchuchu says:

    15 million for a 30 year old?

    I’ll help him pack.

  9. StatesideAussie says:

    Mr C … lovely post. For me, if Berbatov was to leave tomorrow, I would always think of this as the “great might-have-been” experiment. The reason I don’t think of it that way right now is that I still have some hope that his United story isn’t done yet. It may be entering its final chapter, but it could still be a cracker.

    Many of us (even some who don’t rate Berbatov all that much) agree about the Champions League final. It will be interesting to hear SAF’s thoughts on that, later, perhaps after he retires. The sight of him on the bench in the last 15 or 20 minutes of that match — well, he knew it was lost, didn’t he? He had rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. As several have noted previously, the fact that we didn’t even use all our allowed subs is about as damning as it gets.

    But beyond that match, I can’t help feeling Berbatov/United never quite woirked out, and I don’t really understand why not. I don’t blame him. Or SAF. Maybe it was just one of those things? I feel sure that when he was bought, SAF intended something different for the team in terms of style, especially in Europe. And yet Europe is where we’ve used Berbatov least of all.

    If I had to put a finger on one particular aspect of it, I would say that the partnership between him and Rooney never really worked well. My guess is that they never developed a proper understanding, possibly because both players (in different ways) depend on a high level of unpredictability — Rooney with his constant movement, Berbatov with his ball usage. My view was that Berbatov would get the ball and hold it up in and around the opposition penalty box, frustrate the defenders, draw them out of position to open holes, and then feed the ball to Rooney running through. But to make that work requires anticipation and coordination, executed with split-second timing. If the guy with the ball finds it difficult to figure out where the runner will go, and/or if the runner finds it difficult to predict where the guy with the ball will put it, then that’s going to be a problem.

    Anyway, that’s my 10 cents on why the Rooney/Berbatov axis never really clicked.

  10. Sparkz says:

    @Stateside- I’d agree with that much. I couldn’t put it squarely on Berba’s shoulder with regards to the chemistry between him and the team not working out….they haven’t adapted to him as much as the other way around.

    I do think Fergie thought he could play the Cantona role as the withdrawn striker, with Rooney as the Sparky type player. IMO though…Berba’s best performances (last season) came when he was up top, doing a similar job to what you said. High up the pitch, holding it up and bringing others into play, and sticking the ball in the onion bag.

    Where he lost his place in the end was the fact that Hernandez could also play high up the pitch. He couldn’t hold onto the ball and bring others into play as well as Berba….but he stretched defences with his movement (which in turn forces defences to sit deeper….which in turn gives the likes of Rooney, Carrick etc an extra 5-10 yards of space to work with). On top of that, his consistent goal scoring made him a hard prospect to ignore.

  11. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Fred

    Not denying Berba made a conttribution last year, he did and he was part of the squad that won the title and played a significant role in that. It’s just when people try to blame everyone but him for his being benched and people slam the Club for his “treatment” that I get really pissed off because that is all bullshit.

    Last year United won the EPL and was in the finals of the CL. United is one of the strongest teams in the world with a history to match.

    Good players coming to United are put under an intense miscroscope that shows up any imperfections and weaknesses. This is why players who look good at lower ranked Clubs suddenly seem not that good when they more to a real top club. Even really good players like Ronaldo and Nani and Giggs and Rooney all have the ability to learn and adapt for games and team mates and opponents. Berba does not have that versatility, he is not capable of adapting, he plays one way and when it works he looks great when it doesn’t he is ineffective, mentally and his finishing sometimes, is also below the United brand and standard.

    So for me, I wish Berba well, but like many players who shine at lower levels, when he was put under the microscope of a top Club he lacked that ability to make the 10-20% step up that you have to make, like Young is making, like Valencia made – remember what people thought when we got him.

    So in short all this fuss and over the top ridiculousness and bashing the Club, manager and other players for a player who failed to perform at top level is crazy. If he was that good as some people think wouldn’t City (who no longer want him), Chelsea, Real, Barca, Milan, even Arsenal bid for him?
    Who has bid for him – PSG apparently but his agent made clear he did not want to leave so what could United do? When it became clear his option is not going to get extended and he is benched more than last season his agent started talking up Anzhi – who the hell are they. Had anyone heard of them last year? Another rich mans top club. They got Eto on his way down only for mega money. It’s a joke really.

  12. Costas says:


    Too soon to say Young has made any sort of step up that Berbatov didn’t. He’s only been here for 4 months and only played well in the first 2. Lets give him a season or two and see how he comes along. Imo Berbatov stepped up big last year. As for the summer, Berbatov’s stance shouldn’t have been enough to keep him at the club. I am sure Stam wanted to stay at the club in the summer of 01, but Fergie sold him as soon as the Lazio offer came.

  13. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Costas

    Morning mate. I think SAF regarded him as a useful but non-essential player to have around. With Welbeck unproven, it made sense to have Berba as experienced back up gven Owen’s inury record. However, I think if Berba wanted to go they would have let him go.

    Re Young, agree it’s early days, but have to admit I am quite excited about what he brings to our game, looking forward to seeing him back in action!

  14. Costas says:


    It became a sticky situation after the Wembley final. And maybe there were plenty of factors in keeping Berbatov, but just like with PIG, I feel that we didn’t do the player any justice by keeping him around. Maybe I don’t have all the facts, but O’Shea’s situation must not have been all that different. And the funny thing is that in terms of our squad, we needed Sheasy more than we do Berba. I just how that the situation won’t get any messier.

    I hope you’re right about Young. The guy got me very excited at the start of the season. I am just hoping that long term he’ll fit into the club like Yorke did. And not like Veron who was equally impressive when he first arrived. Oh and good morning . :)

  15. WillieRedNut says:

    Could be lip service. Fergie was adamant Veron was going nowhere. Ten days later…..we sold him.

  16. Costas says:

    *Sigh* Veron (who I also liked a lot) left one day after his dominant performance against Juventus in the US. Like willie said, it’s safe to say that you can never be sure.

  17. denton davey says:

    WillieRedNut @ 16:59: “Could be lip service.”

    I agree – strengthening UTD’s bargaining position. However, I’m still wary of selling Dimmy UNLESS the quoted fee (15 million) is roughly accurate.


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