We will find out today whether Dimitar Berbatov will miss the rest of the season, with Sir Alex Ferguson set to confirm whether our striker needs a knee operation. With Bulgaria not travelling to South Africa this summer for the World Cup, it would have been ideal if we could have kept Berbatov playing for the rest of the season and scheduled his operation for the end of May. However, after limping off against Burnley on Sunday, after scoring the goal which broke the dead lock,we may not be able to wait until the end of the season.
Berbatov is currently the 11th highest scorer in the league, despite missing all of November through injury, and has a scoring rate comparable to top scorer Wayne Rooney this season. It therefore goes without saying that he would be a big miss and with Michael Owen, Mame Biram Diouf, Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda as our only cover, alarm bells should be ringing.
So, is it time for Ruud van Nistelrooy to return?
Since leaving us in the summer of 2006, my feelings towards Ruud have softened. I wasn’t at all impressed with his decision to leave and his behaviour towards the close of that season. The breaking point came when Louis Saha started the League Cup final at his expense and Sir Alex Ferguson opted to use new signings Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic as the subs, as well as youngster Kieran Richardson, to give them a taste of success. Ruud stropped and sulked his way through the rest of the season, with tensions behind the scene between the manager obviously mounting.
He signed for Real Madrid at the end of the season and continued scoring freely. In his first season, he bagged 33 goals in 47 games, in his second season he managed 20 goals in 33 games, with the injuries starting to set in. His third season, he only played in 12 matches, but still scored an incredible 10 games! The second reign of the Galacticos, which began this season, seemed to signal the end of his Real Madrid career. He has played in just one league game this season (and scored one goal!) and is obviously looking for a move away from the club as soon as possible, looking ahead to getting in the Dutch team for the World Cup.
He has been linked to a few Premiership clubs, including Liverpool and Spurs, but I do wonder if he could do a job for us again. Ruud is pondering on an offer from Galatasary but at £3m, surely it’s a move our manager should consider.
Ahead of meeting up with Sir Alex Ferguson last year, Ruud spoke out about his differences with the manager.
“I’m so looking forward to see him again,” he said. “I want to talk and make up, clear the air between us. After all this time I can’t believe or understand what it was really all about. Why did it have to be such a big thing? I think we were both to blame. It just exploded between us. We had such a smashing relationship, I just thought, ‘What on earth are you doing to me?’. I was so upset. As a professional player you never get so attached to your club or manager that a clash will hurt you that much. But in this case it did.”
Personally, I am split on the idea of it and of course, the idea of this hasn’t even been rumoured in the press, so is totally hypothetical, as far as we know. But we will need to bring in someone if Berbatov is to have surgery and there aren’t many players out there who are guaranteed to get goals, cheap, and available in January.
Would you have him back at United?