Transfer Focus: Dimitar Berbatov
Transfer Focus makes a return to look at Dimitar Berbatov's future as the Fulham striker is linked with a January move.
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15. Dimitar Berbatov
The Bulgarian has been touted as a target for both Arsenal and former club Tottenham but is there any truth to the rumours?
Berbatov is a proven Premier League performer and could be just the man to make an impact in the second half of the season.
Where will he end up? Transfer Focus investigates....
Who Wants Him?
Arsenal (11/10 to sign Berbatov this summer with Sky Bet): The Gunners are favourites to land Berbatov after recent press reports linking the Bulgarian with a switch to the Emirates. Arsene Wenger could do with another attacking option now Theo Walcott has been ruled out for the rest of the season and there has been a heavy reliance on Olivier Giroud throughout the campaign. Signing the 32-year-old would be an interesting addition for the Premier League title challengers.
Tottenham (100/30): Berbatov already has happy memories of White Hart Lane from his first spell with the club between 2006 and 2008. There might be a space opening up for a new forward with Jermain Defoe touted for a move to Toronto FC and Roberto Soldado hasn't been to everyone's liking since arriving in the summer. Maybe a return to Spurs should be ruled out?
Newcastle (16/1): The Magpies have been reliant on the goals of Loic Remy this term so the arrival of Berbatov would add welcome competition. It's unlikely a journey north from London is on the striker's wish list so that makes a move to St James' Park an outside chance. Definitely an outside hope with other forwards also being linked with Alan Pardew's outfit.
West Ham (18/1): Hammers chief Sam Allardyce is under plenty of pressure following the 6-0 defeat at Manchester City so a marquee signing would certainly raise a much-needed smile at Upton Park. The deal would see Berbatov remain in London but would Fulham be willing to sell to a rival in the battle of survival? That would appear unlikely.
Also available with Sky Bet: Trabzonspor (22/1), Barcelona (28/1), Bayer Leverkusen (28/1), CSKA Sofia (28/1), Celtic (33/1), Ludogorets (33/1).
Sky Bet's Joe Petyt says: "Arsenal have proved a popular selection in the Dimitar Berbatov transfer market. We continue to see money for him to go to the Emirates this month at 11/10 having been backed in from an initial 18/1. Wenger's denial at the weekend has done little to slow the bets we've been taking.
"The only other money we've seen has been for a shock return to Tottenham. He has been backed at a high of 50/1 but is now available at just 100/30."
This season 16 games, five goals - Berbatov hasn't quite hit top form during Fulham's season of struggle but has struck three goals in his last three appearances.
2012/13 season 35 games, 15 goals - Berbatov was amongst the goals as Fulham retained their Premier League status. He netted doubles in the 3-0 win over West Brom, 3-3 draw at Arsenal and 3-2 victory against QPR.
International career 78 games, 48 goals - Berbatov made his full international debut for Bulgaria in 1999 at the age of 18 in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Greece. The striker became his county's all-time record scorer with two goals in a 4-1 victory over Malta before retiring from representing his country in 2012.
Berbatov's first European game with CSKA Sofia was a 2-0 defeat against Newcastle.
Berbatov came on as a substitute as Bayer Leverkusen lost the 2002 Champions League final 2-1 to Real Madrid.
Berbatov scored his first Premier League hat-trick in Tottenham's 6-4 victory over Reading in December 2007.
Berbatov joined Manchester United at the end of the summer transfer window in 2008 for a fee of £30.75 million.
Berbatov revealed the words "keep calm and pass me the ball" on a t-shirt after scoring for Fulham against Southampton on Boxing Day in 2012.
What They Say
January 2014, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "He (Berbatov) is not a name that we have considered at the moment. We have not even been out on the transfer market, we have not contacted anybody."
December 2013, Fulham head coach Rene Meulensteen: "What I said is I will not stand in anyone's way if they wanted to leave. With Dimitar I had a good chat when I took over and he has been as good as gold to me looking at the performance he has put in against Tottenham and Aston Villa. With him we are going to really focus on the four upcoming games we have got and from the performance levels that I have seen I am sure everyone will agree if Dimitar plays at that level he will be a very important player in the games to come."
December 2013, Berbatov's agent Emil Dantchev: "I don't usually speculate as nobody knows what will happen in January but what I can tell you is he (Berbatov) is not happy at Fulham. He would like, if possible, to find another option. I cannot comment (on whether there has been any approach) but the priority is to find a solution to stay in England." Press Association Sport
The Sun, January 2 - Arsenal are closing in on a shock £2million swoop for Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov.
OptaJoe, January 8 (@OptaJoe) - 9 - Dimitar Berbatov has scored nine goals in his last nine Premier League appearances in the month of January. Resolution.
Sky Bet, January 7 (@SkyBet) - #Arsenal have been backed in 11/10 favourites to sign Dimitar Berbatov after being as long as 18/1!
Gary Neville, January 2 (@GNev2) - Berbatov to Arsenal fits for me. Awareness of runs / plays that extra pass and tempo in the last third would suit him.
You can make a case for both Arsenal and Tottenham needing to add Berbatov to their attacking options. Spurs are the best call at 100/30 to bring the striker back to White Hart Lane with Jermain Defoe close to departing and an extra goal threat required. Tim Sherwood would certainly get people talking if the Bulgarian is his first signing!