Manchester United: Dimitar Berbatov Should Not Leave the Red Devils
After years of ridicule for a perceived laziness and a failure to fulfill expectations, Berbatov became the hottest goal scorer on the planet at the end of 2010, which included a hat trick against Liverpool and a record-tying five-goal match against Blackburn Rovers.
Berbatov went on to win the Golden Boot with a 20-goal performance. But since his failure to appear in the match-day squad for the 2011 Champions League final, Berbatov has found himself out of favor at Old Trafford.
Last season, Berbatov made just 21 appearance for United, with 10 of those being cameos as a substitute.
Even with a limited role, Berbatov was still remarkable, scoring nine goals and two assists. But Berbatov found himself with scarce opportunities to appear after January. In all, Berbatov made just three appearances during this time, with Chicharito Hernandez and Danny Welbeck favored over the Bulgarian striker.
Though there was much speculation that Berbatov was to leave following the conclusion of the Premier League campaign, the striker is still a Red Devil (h/t ESPN.com).
Berbatov featured in United's first friendly in Durban several days ago, making a brilliant pass to Federico Macheda for the match's only goal. Berbatov displayed more brilliance later on in that same match, hitting a volley off a corner that was remarkably saved.
So far, Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't appear to have made a decision pertaining the future of Berbatov, claiming, via ESPN, "The boy [Berbatov] has a future, but if he wants to leave it is a different matter, I am easy about it if he stays. I would be happy with that. But if someone comes in and Dimitar wants to leave, we will assess it."
United have been linked to disgruntled Arsenal star Robin van Persie, with Ferguson admitting that his club had submitted a bid for the Dutch striker (h/t Harry Harris, ESPN.com). If van Persie were to arrive, Berbatov's time at Old Trafford would certainly come to an end.
But we can't consider Man United to be the favorites to land van Persie considering how many other clubs are interested in his services.
If van Persie isn't purchased, Man United should consider keeping Berbatov. The Bulgarian has just one year left on his contract and is still on top of his game.
Last year, Berbatov was one of just 16 players who recorded a hat trick in the Premier League. Berbatov's passing is still sharp (84 percent in the league), and his vision remains sharp.
Furthermore, Berbatov provides adequate cover should one of the three strikers ahead of him go down with injury. He proved it last December with some great performances and is capable of doing it again should he get the chance.
Berbatov has also proved himself to be an effective player in the Champions League. Considering the lack of time that Chicharito and Welbeck have on the European stage, this becomes an important feature.
Though it will not be pleasant to see Berbatov wasting his talents on the bench, he should still stay with United.
After all, Berbatov considered moving to United to be his "dream move" four years ago (h/t metro.co.uk). Letting go of a chance to play for Man United is something that Berbatov does not want to happen. If everything involving United's moves in the market with strikers remain the same, don't expect to see Berbatov leave this summer.
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