Arsenal Transfer News: Dimitar Berbatov Reports Played Down by Arsene Wenger

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Arsenal Transfer News: Dimitar Berbatov Reports Played Down by Arsene Wenger
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played down reports linking the Gunners with a move for Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov in the January transfer window.

Pete O'Rourke of Sky Sports provided Friday's update:

The former Manchester United striker, 32, has been the subject of speculation ever since his agent claimed in December that he wanted to leave Fulham, as reported by Sky Sports.

Premier League leaders Arsenal have been linked with a move for the Bulgarian, per Neil Custis in the Sun (subscription required), following recent injuries to Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner.

Berbatov, whose contract expires this summer, is reportedly seen as a short-term option by Wenger. The Arsenal boss has also been linked to Chelsea striker Demba Ba, per Sky Sports, and Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata, reported by Jack De Menezes in the Independent.

However, Wenger has distanced himself from a move for Berbatov by saying the striker is not in his plans.

In fact, the Mirror's John Cross insists the deal was never a possibility:

With that being said, a move for an attacker remains likely for the Gunners after Wenger confirmed Bendtner's injury and added that Giroud is likely to miss the FA Cup third-round tie against Tottenham through injury and illness.

Arsenal's title challenge is in danger of derailing if they were to lose any of their main strikers for an extended period, with Giroud in particular crucial to their hopes of ending their trophy drought.

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Berbatov, who won two Premier League titles and the Golden Boot during his time at Old Trafford, is viewed by many as an ideal back-up in order to allow Wenger to rotate his squad while maintaining form. 

He would provide an ideal option for bringing Arsenal's array of midfield talent into play in dangerous attacking positions, working as a link-up player with the ability to score regularly inside the penalty area, in much the same way as Giroud operates at the moment.

Berbatov has the intelligence to fit in seamlessly alongside the likes of Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey and would arrive with enough Premier League experience to be able to make an instant impact if needed.

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