Berbatov – Provider or Goal Scorer?


By [email protected]!t.

Dimitar Berbatov has been “affectionately” given a new name by Manchester United fans – ‘Berbaflop’. The name is an indication of what the general consensus amongst the fans is – Berbatov has been underwhelming and has failed to live up to his £30.75m price tag. Having completed his second season at the club, rumours are plenty he will be sold while his transfer fee still commands a higher asking price. Does Berbtaov deserve his ‘Berbaflop’ tag? Has he lived up to his billing? Should we sell? And most importantly, can he offer more to Man United?

The first question is tough to answer. We have seen brilliant moments of magic from the Bulgarian, but lacked consistency and at times struggled when the team needed him most. Berbatov’s United career statistics make for interesting reading. Overall Berbatov has scored 26 goals in 86 games. The breakdown is as follows: 64 league games (11 as a used substitute), scoring 21 goals plus 4 goals in 15 European games. The stats don’t look amazing but they are not that bad either. Berbatov has performed decently in the League. Many compare him to the Berbatov who played for Tottenham? During his spell at Spurs, he scored 27 goals in 70 league appearances (6 as a used substitute) and 12 goals in 16 appearances in the UEFA cup (now called the Europa League). In terms of assists, he has provided 14 goals for United and 22 for the North London club.

The stats speak for themselves; his performances at United are similar to his time at Tottenham. At Spurs he was their main man, he was at the centre of their attacking play and their game seemed to suit him. Whereas at United, he has struggled coming to terms with United’s attacking speed and has been accused of slowing the tempo. Fans must remember though, Berbatov was never a goal machine, this is a huge misconception, he’s more of a 15 goals, 15 assists a season striker, more of a provider than finisher.

Berbatov is an excellent passer of the ball and is one of the best exponents of ball control in the world and one looks on in awe at his ability to control long aerial balls, making it look quite easy in the process. He’s quite good with his feet too, and has great vision. His finishing has faltered at times, missing some sitters but then he never was a Villa or Torres, i.e. a deadly finisher. His languid and lazy style has been also a target for criticism, well at times it a joy to watch this “lazy” man outwit opponents with a few clever moves.

Maybe a reason Berbatov has failed perform is the fact all of us want him to score 20-25 goals a season. Is a fairer expectation 15 assists while scoring around 10-15 goals? Berbatov might be better used as the man who creates opportunities for Rooney/Owen with through balls rather than expect him to be the goal scorer. Last Season Berbatov showed an inclination to play a deeper role, collect balls and pass it on. Perhaps this is a reason why he struggled when asked to play as the lone striker; he tended to drop deep and as a consequence no one in front of him to pass the ball.

Is the time for Berbatov to move on? I think not, though he will be worth less next summer if he fails to live up to expectation. I think it’s a risk Sir Alex should take, if properly used Berbatov can be a huge asset for the team rather than a liability. Berbatov the provider is the Berbatov we should hope to see next season, one who can provide the team with 15 goals and score another 10-15 in the process. Technically doesn’t that make him a 25-30 goal striker?

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  1. Jason Freeman on

    Great article. Love Berba, his skill is magnificent. Love the way he gets out of being surrounded by 3-4 players without having any pace. I think people expect more goals from him because of the £30m fee we paid. I have no doubt he can get those goals if played correctly and if he has confidence, he didn’t have much luck towards the end of last season either, it became a bit of a joke, even Berba started laughing. Good pre-season is needed.

  2. Berb has all the skills in the world but I find it impossible to defend the bloke I’m afraid because he just doesn’t seem to fit in with our style of play at all and slows us down far too much.

    Is it coincidence that the 2 seasons he has been with us we have witnessed some of the most turgid football I’ve seen United play since Sexton was in charge?

  3. to be berbatov is a proivder he make goals. he dosent score goals. i am watching the hon and chile match. this guy sanzches is on rely . he plays on the right wing. we have being linked with him the past fergie should sing him up. he reminds me young roanldo when he frist canme full of tricks and paste and his fianl delivery is class

  4. 15 million. do you think fergie has scouts out in arfica. lets hope there at that ganme. i have dout fergie is watching it in his hoilday honme in france

  5. We were linked with Sanchez last season as well. Udinese then raised their expected price. He does look a class apart.

  6. Last summer, Udinese were reported to have rejected a bid of 25 mil Euros from Bayern Munich for Alexis Sanchez. And I’d read reports that the expected price was around £30 mil.
    Now, after a few good performances at this World Cup, I can’t see him going for £15 mil.

  7. Brian genesis on

    BERBATOV has no problem all the fans need to understand is that he works hard enuf but hre wasnt just lucky and look how NANI fetched the ball for him! he got to it but just always missed it by an inch or two. he is better than wen he arrived at united. wat FERGIE SHOULD DO IS SIGN A CREATIVE MIDFILDER IN luka modric so that NANI , VALENCIA AND MODRIC CAN FEED ROONEY AND BERBATOV WELL rather than having rooney fetch balls for berbatov or vice versa!!!! wen ronaldo left did we know wat rooney cd do? BERBATOV IS A GOLDEN PLAYER we all know that and lets give him a chance to pik the united game from nani valencic and modric and you will never regret.

  8. what 30 million. i think if fergie is sanchez he normaly gets his man. and aanchez said a few weaks ago come and get me fergie. udinese would have to sell if the player wanted to leave but

  9. Berba is sheer class and hopefully this year will belong to him, im getting fed up with media lie tho concerning vida who doesnt wana leave, lets be honest, its the media who wants vida out of utd not the giant serb, the media knows chelsea was a fluke and with our supervida fully fit it gona be 07-8 all over again next yr, watch us keep him and win the lge and europe.

  10. Good post! Ive been one or Berbs biggest fans even before he came to us but even for me time is running out.I hope for his sake he has a good preseason and gets a goal or two early on and builds that confidence!

  11. As many people suggest he doesn’t suit our fast pace counter attacking style.but still he’s better than anyone in the team when it comes to holding that ball. even better than Wazza! We missed this quality in certain matches last season(first leg in Bayern) which ultimately turned out to be pivotal point of the season.when he’s on that pitch he really makes sure that ball is with us as much as possible. but yet again that’s not the only thing we expect from £30 million United striker! of course he needs to get that balls in the back of the net. but i have a question? Selling him to another club can solve all our problems? NO.
    It won’t make us stronger nor solve the problems.everyone here will admit that we really need an attacking creative midfielder who can hold the ball, pass it around well (you know who am talking about..yeah Silva, even though there is a little of chance he coming to OT. i would keep Berba in the team to get a different kinda dimension to our game till we get an attacking midfield player, very good on that ball,who have got a good field vision to see his team mates’ runs .i don’t think we can expect Berba scoring like RVN did.we knew that he’s not a natural finisher like Torres or Villa when we brought him from spurs.using rotational policy will be a good ploy I believe. (his price tag is so huge that I expect many oppositions I might receive with this ploy but I think it’s much better than playing him every game and booing him in an away ground!).we can afford 4 quality strikers at a time and we had that in that treble winning side in 99.gaffer used them four quite effectively. i’d like to see that again in this side next year.then again anything over £18 million from any Italian clubs(they are the ones who got interest in him anyway)we accept as he’s nearing 30 and market price will be very low for a player above 30.our financially crippled condition made me to say that last part you know.

  12. Tricky start to the season. Newcastle home, Fulham away, Liverpool at home and everton away. The premier league really dont want us to win the league compare to Chelsea start. Imagine going to Blackpool to win the league, by then I hope we have 88 pionts and Chelsea have 86. Who do Chelsea have in their last game? @ stretford

  13. I hope its true. It was done a few days ago. Fergie would have the game yesterday and he would have being even more impressed of him. I think he will go all out and try to sign him. So they did make a 15 million bid last year so we have up the asking price by 18 million i say. i think key yo getting him. If he has an even better ganme against spain all right the price might go up but i think he is wroth every penny. what do you think of stroy @ stretford

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