The latest reports are now saying that Dimitar Berbatov was driven to our Carrington training ground and is in talks with Sir Alex Ferguson, after the manager himself went to pick him up. Excitement around the red side of Manchester mounted, until a bulletin on Sky Sports News announced that Real Madrid were bidding a whopping £36.5 million for the player. Desperate for a big signing and probably eager to get one over on the club that denied them Cristiano Ronaldo, the Spanish club are doing all they can to throw a spanner in the works for us.

Mark Hughes confirmed that the offer they had put in for Berbatov was a British transfer record, meaning we were are looking at something around the £33 million mark. If this bid is accepted, then it will still be down to Berbatov which club he plays for, even though Real Madrid have offered more.

Of course though, this will be testing times for Ferguson’s negotiation skills. Real Madrid are obviously a massive club, but the fact that they haven’t been able to secure any of their transfer targets this season, as well as Robinho desperately wanting out of the club, indicates life isn’t so rosy at the Bernabeu. However, making Berbatov aware of that is what will be important.

The news must reach Ferguson of Real Madrid’s bid before he allows the player to leave Carrington. It is rare for a player to meet with Ferguson and then decide against a move to United. Whilst explaining to Berbatov all the privileges that come with being a United player, as well as the trophies he can win, he’ll have been discussing reasons against signing for City. He now has Real Madrid to contend with as well.

Essentially, if Manchester United are willing to match the bid City have already had accepted, and Berbatov is as keen to sign for us as he makes out, then by the end of the day he will be a United player. But we can’t rule his head getting turned by Real Madrid, as has happened with so many players before.

edit. 5pm. After an hour and a half of talks, Ferguson has left Carrington.

edit. 5.45pm Daniel Levy insists Ferguson has not been given permission to talk to the player. Real Madrid have confirmed they are interested but no bid has been lodged.

edit. 7.15pm Reports suggest Berbatov has undergone a medical at United. He still has not met with Mark Hughes at City.