Friday, August 29, 2008

Berbatov deal 'agreed' - but who will be the winners in transfer high stakes?

Reports claim that United have reached a verbal agreement with Tottenham over the sale of Dimitar Berbatov. The theory goes that once Spurs land their new Russian striker they will allow the Bulgarian to join the Champions.

It is somewhat ironic that Fergie looks set to acquire his number one target on the very weekend that United are set to face Zenit St Petersburg in the European Super Cup Final in of all places Monte Carlo, where fortunes are often gambled and lost on the turn of the Roulette wheel.

Ferguson, who is known to like flutter has until now been holding back in the current transfer window in the hope of winning big when making just one significant signing.

If and when Berbatov finally signs it will bring about an end to one of the most protracted transfers of recent times, it will also bring a degree of relief to the legions of United fans who have been frantically window watching over the last few weeks for any update on the search for a new striker.

Spurs for their part, have maintained that they wanted to keep the Bulgarian, but if as seems likely the deal is done, it will add further weight to the suggestion that they have become a selling club and no supporter of Tottenham will be happy about being labelled with that slur.

It remains to be seen how the fortunes of both clubs will pan out over the coming season, much will depend on the work done by both camps in the transfer window, especially on the part of already under pressure manager Ramos at White Hart Lane.

Selling Berbatov could turn out to be a masterstroke, if Spurs land Arshavin et al. On the flip side and as Alan Sugar would say, it could out to be a bloody disaster especially coupled with the sale of Robbie Keane.

In complete contrast at United, Ferguson is talking about emulating AC Milan by becoming the first club to retain the Champions League since its inception. Seasoned United supporters will be wary about talk of yet more European glory, given the club have failed on so many previous occasions when the big one has been 'there for the taking'.

There's no doubt about it though, "United, Champions of Europe" sounds good and make no mistake the fans are gagging for more - the question is are we really good enough to do it again this season?

Going into the summer the Reds had three priorities; retain Ronaldo, sign Tevez plus a new striker.

Only completion of the Tevez deal remains on the to-do list and it's expected that will be a formality - but nonetheless, it's a deal that needs doing and soon.

My own view is that United have arguably the best defence in Europe, with the partnership of Vidic and Ferdinand looking to get still stronger. Like in midfield, Ferguson is blessed with many options to choose from.

The only perceived weakness in the current United squad was of course up front, and the addition of Berbatov, coupled with Angolan striker Manucho will give the manager yet more options.

Over a long season, football is no game of chance, at the end of it you get what you deserve, especially in the league. Europe is different and the Reds will have to overcome; Celtic, Villarreal and Danish side Aalborg in a comfortable looking Group E. Only complacency will stop the Champions from progressing further in the competition.

There's a lot to look forward to for United fans this season, many will be hoping that Reds prospective summer gamble on Berbatov will lead to yet more European and domestic glory before Fergie finally cashes in his chips.

Finally, you do wonder what the odds would be on the chances of United meeting Chelsea in a repeat of last season's Champions League Final, not as long as the odds on UEFA allowing it to actually happen I'd venture.

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