For Dimitar Berbatov the Old Trafford dugout during the 2011-12 campaign probably felt more like a prison cell than anything, starting just three Premier League games and playing nine minutes as a substitute in the last 4 months of the 2012 season.
After a tumultuous offseason, assurances that he’ll have a prominent role in the squad, and striking out in two transfer windows, it appears that prison cell is now beginning to grow….into a multi-continental preseason tour.
Yes, after everything that has happened, the Bulgarian striker is still a Red Devil and will take part in this upcoming preseason tours to South Africa and China, and will likely finish off his last contracted season with United, this according to Ferguson himself.
Speaking to MUTV, Fergie also gave some insight into his hesitancy to play Berbatov, and shockingly it had nothing to do with Berbatov kicking his dog or bedding his daughter.
"It wasn’t a great season for him last season, partly because I settled more with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck and Chicharito.
"I don’t think I treated Dimitar unfairly but he can feel disappointed that he didn’t get more football. He’s a fantastic talent."
You can’t help but feel for Berbatov, who just one year ago, was joint top scorer in the Premier League and played a vital role in securing a record 19th title for United. At 31 years old, Dimitar can surely hear the clock ticking down on his career and despite having an opportunity to leave at the end of last season, he agreed to a one year contract extension last March.
You have to wonder just what exactly SAF said to keep Berbatov in Manchester, but given Berbatov’s affinity for a certain Marlon Brando cinema classic, I’m willing to bet it went something a little like this.
But most disappointing of all is how poorly Sir Alex and the club handled a big monetary asset. Berbatov came to the club as the biggest signing in club history with a transfer fee of 30 million pounds. To be fair, Berba has never really lived up to that price tag, and his value has depreciated at a pretty steady rate. However, clubs like PSG were reportedly offering around 18 million pounds in the January transfer window, which would have at least given us some pocket change as we wrote off a bad investment. To shelve Berbatov for two years and let him walk out the door for nothing however, that’s just poor business.