Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that we have put on a bid on the table for Tottenham’s Dimitar Berbatov, hoping to finally make the Bulgarian striker a red.
“We have made Tottenham an offer on Berbatov and we have good expectations that this deal will go through,” said Fergie. “Berbatov has been impressive during a long time and would be a great addition to our attack. I think time will work for us more than against us. We will not stress this situation. We are hoping to have a constructive conversation with Tottenham in the near future.”
Spurs manager, Juande Ramos, has indicated that the club would be open to selling, if the price was right.
“Berbatov fumes as Spurs drag out his move to United” read the headline in The Guardian this week, after the London club strived to ensure they made as much money as possible on the transfer. Berbatov may very well be annoyed, but this whole situation could have been avoided had he made the right decision back in 2006!
Following a string of temper tantrums and inability to accept that he had no more right to a place in the first XI than anyone else at the club, Ruud van Nistelrooy left United for Real Madrid. I remember frantically checking the transfer rumours every day, waiting for news on his replacement being announced. That news never came (and still hasn’t!)
Berbatov had signed for Spurs two months previously and our options were limitted. After finishing second and winning the League Cup, it felt as though we were several players short from building a team that was capable of challenging Chelsea for the title. Why had Berbatov signed for Spurs?
He had a choice between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. United had finished 2nd in the league whilst Spurs missed out on a top 4 finish, and Champions League football, after a bout of illness rocked the Spurs camp on the final day of the season.
Spurs had been in the chase for the Bulgarian longer than United, so admirably, Berbatov decided to sign for the club that had shown him the most interest.
“What can I say? Spurs stood by me the whole time and sometimes that’s more important,” Berbatov said. “As a matter of fact I spoke with one of the management of Manchester United. They had a problem with Van Nistelrooy. I could not wait so long, so I decided to come here. When I only had six goals in the Bundesliga last season they said we like you and we want to be buy you. But Leverkusen said, ‘No, we don’t want you to go’. Over a period of six months Tottenham kept saying, ‘We like you, we want you to come here’. They were always in contact with the club. Then I scored 21 goals and they settled on a price. It was a long-standing interest. They could have bought anyone but they decided on me. I appreciated that.”
His attitude was admirable, deciding to honour the persistence and dedication shown by Spurs by agreeing a deal with them. It would be nice to think that this same respect could be shown in return, now that he has spent two years at the club, scoring 23 goals a season, but football doesn’t work like that, not anymore.
Spurs will push United for every penny they have, unconcerned at how desperately their player wants a move to United. This leaves both the players, clubs and fans in limbo, waiting for a resolution, but if Spurs manage to bump up the transfer fee to £28 million, making £18 million on the player (and not for the first time either!) then they won’t be too concerned!
Of course, I’m not really laying in to Berbatov for his decision to join Spurs. I do think it was an admirable move and the only criticism he can face is that he is naive. To think that you will be rewarded by the club for going out on a limb to join them is far too simple minded. The world of football is now the world of business and Spurs are right to try and make as much money as they possibly can on their player.
So for now, Berbatov will have to be left fuming, although I’m sure the completion of the transfer isn’t far off now.