Dimitar Berbatov could find himself leaving Old Trafford sooner than most expected.
Dimitar Berbatov’s contract talks with Manchester United have broken down and the Premier League’s leading scorer could be heading out of Old Trafford this summer.
Berbatov was told the club were ready to hand him a two-year extension to his current deal, which runs out in in June 2012, during initial negotiations just before Christmas and was confident of putting pen to paper before the end of the season.
But when the Bulgarian returned to the negotiating table earlier this year, the offer had been downgraded to a one-year rolling deal, albeit on improved terms.
United are prepared to hike his wages from £80,000-a-week to around £120,000-a-week as reward for his role in propelling the club to a six-point lead in the Premier League table.
However, there has been no indication from the Old Trafford hierarchy over the last six weeks that a longer contract will be on offer.
Berbatov, who did not travel with the squad to Gelsenkirchen for Tuesday night’s semi-final first leg against Schalke because of a groin injury, is unhappy that he has been relegated down the United pecking order in that time despite heading the Premier League scoring charts with 21 goals.
“The combination of Berbatov turning 30 [in January] and the rise of Javier Hernandez has changed things,” a source told Goal.com.
“Hernandez was not expected to perform as well as he has and the return of Wayne Rooney to top form has also weakened Berbatov’s case for a longer contract.”
Dimitar Berbatov has slipped down the pecking order at Manchester United, with his manager Sir Alex Ferguson unimpressed by his lack of goals on the road.
Though the Bulgarian has scored an impressive 21 Premier League goals, just four of those have come away from Old Trafford.
Furthermore, eleven of those goals came in three matches against Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City, and he has been less consistent than many of his peers.
Still, it is almost unheard of to sell on the Premier League top goalscorer – let alone for £8m.
Should Manchester United sell while they still can?