Dimitar Berbatov does not cut a happy figure at the moment, entirely frustrated that his desired to move to United has become so difficult. Far too often the word ‘saga’ is involved with United in the transfer market, from John Obi Mikel to Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves to Cristiano Ronaldo. It would be nice if we could just resolve things nicely, but with the Premier League case regarding our supposed tapping-up ongoing, it appears as though the ‘Berbatov saga’ will rumble on.
Last month, I reflected on how Berbatov has already had the opportunity to join United, but turned us down. Whilst United were still resolving the transfer of Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid, Berbatov felt like he couldn’t wait for United, so chose a move to Tottenham Hotspur instead.
Whilst looking for any updates on the Berbatov situation, I stumbled across an article in The Telgraph which serves as a reminder of how the country saw United two years ago.
United had just finished the season 2nd behind Chelsea, winning the League Cup to put in the trophy cabinet which had been empty the year before. The media decided that United were in decline because of this and wrote us off.
When Berbatov signed for Spurs, nobody envisaged that United would go on to win the league that season. We had sold Ruud, bringing in no replacement, whilst Chelsea had signed Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko, adding to their Premiership winning squad. So, certainly nobody saw us winning it consecutively as well as beating Chelsea in the European Cup final. Which is where The Telegraph article comes in to play. It’s fairly amusing to read through these damning reports, knowing now just how wrong these journalists were.
It says as much about Tottenham Hotspur’s ascent in the Premiership hierarchy as it does about Manchester United’s relative decline that Dimitar Berbatov has revealed he chose White Hart Lane above Old Trafford this summer.
United’s procrastination has cost them another gifted player. While Berbatov is not in the same league as Ronaldinho, Arjen Robben or Michael Ballack, it has become a worrying trend for United to miss out on signings due to the way they conduct their business. Of course, they took Tottenham’s Michael Carrick up to Old Trafford for an initial fee of £14m last week, but it looked like business conducted with backs to the wall.
With the Premiership’s opening day fast approaching, their squad still looks shallow in midfield and attack. Berbatov revealed that United had only spoken to him at the end of the season. By that time Tottenham had already had Berbatov as a guest at White Hart Lane when he met Martin Jol.
Isn’t hindsight brilliant…