Jack Wilshere has called Dimitar Berbatov "a great player," adding weight to the suggestion the Bulgarian forward could soon join the Emirates club.
As reported by John Cross of the Mirror, Wilshere understandably wanted to avoid in-depth questioning about Berbarov, turning the focus onto his own team:
He's (Berbatov) a great player. He has played for Manchester United. Players who don't have ability don't play for Man United.
But he is a Fulham player so I can't talk about him. We have Olivier (Giroud), who has been great for us this season. If we can keep him fit we have a chance.
Should Arsene Wenger sign Dimitar Berbatov this January?
Wilshere also pointed to Arsenal's bench—including players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Mikel Arteta—when talking of the need to rotate the Arsenal squad.
However, his comments about Berbatov will only galvanize rumours that the former Manchester United man could be Arsene Wenger's solution to a lack of striking options—until the end of the season at least.
As reported by ESPN, Arsenal were rumoured to be considering a £2 million bid for the 32-year-old at the beginning of January, but Wenger is yet to add further names to his squad during the current transfer window.
Cross' report also confirms Wenger is "open to strengthening" his attacking numbers and suggests he will continue looking to do business this month. Although Juventus' Mirko Vucinic is also linked with the club, a potential move for Berbatov—who is tried and tested in the Premier League—continues to linger.
The former Bayer Leverkusen striker has just four goals in 17 appearances this season, per WhoScored.com. He played 90 minutes during Fulham's recent visit to the Emirates and largely failed to impress after receiving limited service from his teammates.
Berbatov registered zero shots on goal, was dispossessed five times—more than double the amount of any other player—completing just one dribble all game. In comparison to Olivier Giroud, who was also quiet during the recent fixture, his season has been fruitless, recorded by WhoScored.com:
Often accused of being lazy and uninterested, one has to consider how Berbatov would fit into Wenger's plans. Giroud's constant movement and willingness to drag defenders out of position aids Arsenal's passing style of play, but this is not something Berbatov replicates.
Granted, he possesses technical prowess and is world class on his day, but the ageing forward's consistency has diminished. Indeed, Wenger has dampened talk of a move, per Cross:
#afc Wenger says he rates Berbatov highly but says no approach and nor will there be— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 17, 2014
Perhaps Berbatov could provide temporary cover, but it is unthinkable to consider Berbatov at Arsenal beyond the conclusion of this season if he does move.