Transfer Rumors: Thoughts on Arsenal’s Latest Target, Dimitar Berbatov
At the halfway point of the season, Arsene Wenger and his team can look back on what has been a good campaign thus far with so many challenges ahead. The team was ousted early in the Capital One Cup but there’s an FA Cup battle with the old enemy to contend with tomorrow. The Champions League double date against the defending champions, Bayern Munich, is still weeks away and the Gunners are currently at the summit of the Premier League.
However, these achievements so far can be attributed to the hard work of the players as they have given their all for the team in their respective positions but the fans still believe that there’s still room for improvement in some positions, with much focus on the striking personnel as the club is ridiculously short in that playing position.
Olivier Giroud has been a name on the first team sheet week in week out but while the fans appreciate his amazing work rate upfront and superb linkup play with his teammates, he has been found wanting in doing what he is actually paid to do – scoring on a consistent basis.
11 goals in his many games isn’t actually a bad return from the French forward but the problem remains that Arsenal can’t really look beyond him when the chips are down. Nicklas Bendtner has had his off the pitch shenanigans with the club and it seemed as if he had one foot away from the Emirates but his goal was vital in Arsenal’s most recent win against Cardiff but he got injured afterwards. Lukas Podolski is a better finisher than Giroud but he’s no center forward and of course, Yaya Sanogo is somewhere in a rehab center with Abou Diaby.
This is where a player like Dimitar Berbatov steps in. The rumors are endless during this transfer window and the media Vultures have wasted no time with linking Arsenal with the Bulgarian forward. According to ESPN, the player has told his agent that he wants to leave Fulham in January, as he’s faced with the ignominy of relegation this season.
Arsenal has been linked with many forwards this season – Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez, Fernando Llorente, Alvaro Morata, Diego Costa but c’mon, Dimitar Berbatov?
The 32-year-old Bulgarian’s career began a long while ago in his native CSKA Sofia before making a move to Bayer Leverkusen in 2000. Berbatov was part of that famous Bayer 04 Leverkusen squad alongside Michael Ballack, Ze Roberto, Carsten Ramelow, Hans-Jorg Butt and Bernd Schneider that went all the way to the Champions League final before losing to Real Madrid and the excellent Zinedine Zidane.
After scoring 50 goals in his last two seasons at Bayer Leverkusen, Berbatov switched to the Premier League to play for Aersenal’s fierce rivals, Tottenham, and he managed to score 46 goals in two seasons earning him a legendary status at the club. Berbatov wasn’t just known for his goals in Tottenham. He oozed class in every game he played and I was in the opinion that his first touch was so immaculate that he could actually control a ball launched from orbit.
Following some flirtations with Manchester United, Berbatov was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford and it finally came to pass in 2008 but it cost the club a whooping £30.75 million. Despite notching up a couple of goals and assists in his debut campaign, the Old Trafford faithful criticized the Bulgarian for being “too lazy”.
The exits of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez paved the way for Berbatov to gain a stronghold in the first team and he won the Golden Boot in the 2010/11 campaign but he lost his place to an upcoming starlet from Mexico, Chicharito.
After spending a lot of manhours on Manchester United’s bench, he called time on his Old Trafford career to rejoin his mentor, Martin Jol, at Fulham. Berbatov found a new lease of life with the Cottagers, scoring 15 goals in 33 Premier League appearances last season, endearing him to the Fulham fans.
This season, Berbatov has scored five goals in 16 appearances and he has witnessed the club fall apart, which ultimately cost Jol his job. The new manager, Rene Meulensteen, has tried to steady the ship since his arrival and even though Berbatov scored the match winner against West Ham last weekend, he’s hoping to make a move to one big European side before calling time on what has been an illustrious career.
Fulham is a club trying their best to fight their way out of relegation and Berbatov is an indispensable player to them but with the player hell-bent on leaving, will Arsenal be a suitable destination?
I’m in awe of Berbatov’s control, technical ability, high football IQ, precision and composure but his flaws as a player will be a real problem for me. First of all, Berbatov is a very lazy footballer and his work rate is really poor. He also lacks pace to get on the end of some passes and in my opinion, he’d slow Arsenal’s game to his level, which would be detrimental to how the club plays it’s football.
However, he can serve as a short-term fix and as an alternative striker to Giroud but as the saying goes,
Arsene Knows Best.
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