Update: Times Online reports that United had made an inquiry for Berba and would move for him next summer., something that both Tottenham and Manchester United have denied (BBC).
Manchester United’s lack of goals (and fit strikers) this season, Tottenham’s poor start that led to the whole Jol-Ramos-Jol situation and the susbsequent rumours that Berbatov was unsettled at the club – all of this has led to a flurry of rumours that Manchester United have tabled a hefty bid for the Tottenham striker and that Berbatov himself now wants to leave the club.
I don’t know if Berbatov wants to leave or not, but if he does, it’s not because he was subbed once, or because a certain player wasn’t bought, or because Jol doesn’t give him a guarantee that he won’t be rotated. The whole “if Bent comes then Berbatov goes” story doesn’t make sense either, because it is to Tottenham’s benefit that 4 quality strikers (Berba-Keane-Bent-Defoe) play for them and with the sheer number of games Tottenham get to play, they are inevitably going to each get a lot of games.
It makes no sense for Tottenham to want to sell Berbatov after what they had been saying the whole of last season and early this summer about keeping him. I don’t buy it, and the only reason I think Berbatov will want to leave Tottenham is because he’s lost faith in his manager’s ability to help them win games (and thus take them to the Champions League), and that could only have happened over the course of the season as opposed to an over-night change.
On the flip side, I don’t see Manchester United going out and buying a striker at this stage, especially as an emergency replacement. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t make sense – adding Berbatov to the squad (or even Anelka) and putting Saha out to pasture would be a smart move. From what Gill and Ferguson have said over the summer, the only way United would be looking for a striker at the moment is if Rossi’s ‘sale’ was something unexpected and not planned for. In that case, a move for Anelka and / or Berbatov could very much be on the cards.
The clincher here is Berbatov, and what he wants. If he wants to go and Manchester United catch a whiff of it, Ferguson will throw whatever it takes at Tottenham (I believe he would have stuffed a Heinze dummy and thrown it if they hadn’t burnt all of those at the stake outside Old Trafford) to get Berbatov to come over to the dark side.
Spurs have been at this point before as well – with Michael Carrick last season. Then, they lost a player who was capable of helping them push on to 4th spot. And if Berbatov doesn’t have faith in his manager anymore, it could be the same this season as well.