Are these United stars heading towards the Old Trafford exit?
DIMITAR Berbatov heads a list of United stars who have between now and the end of the season to save their Old Trafford careers.
The Bulgarian international is the highest profile name under threat of being axed by Sir Alex Ferguson – but is one of a host of underperformers on the verge of being shown the door.
Also on that list are Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Michael Owen and Anderson, who have all struggled with either fitness or form this season.
Ferguson may yet spend in the January transfer window, with a proven goal-scorer and a creative midfielder his priorities – but his major rebuilding will be done in the summer, when a number of names are expected to depart.
Berbatov remains his biggest dilemma, with the United manager never happy to admit defeat with a high-profile signing – especially one so expensive.
For all his public support of Berbatov, Ferguson made no secret of his desire to sign a world-class goal-scorer with his failed bid to land Karim Benzema last summer.
The Frenchman – who opted to leave Lyon for Real Madrid instead – remains on United’s wanted list, either this month or at the end of the season.
Other strikers being monitored are Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko, Valencia’s David Silva and Porto’s Brazilian international Hulk.
Ferguson’s determination for more firepower – despite having the potential of Danny Welbeck and Federico Macheda in his squad – also places doubts over Owen’s future. The former Liverpool man’s dream move to United has turned out to be anything but, with Ferguson clearly not convinced by his form.
Vidic’s days also increasingly look numbered.
It is an open secret that he wants to play in Spain – and with Barcelona and Real both waiting in the wings, now would be the time to cash in on the Serbian.
Despite being a popular figure at Old Trafford and one of Ferguson’s most astute buys at £7m four years ago, there is little argument that his powers have waned over the past 12 months.
Vidic has this week denied a rift with his manager, following his late withdrawal from the FA Cup defeat to Leeds, saying: “Everybody in the club knows that I have a marvellous understanding with my coach Ferguson. I am not unhappy at Old Trafford. I am just injured and I hope that I will be able to play as soon as possible.”
Still, United could expect to pick up in excess of £20m if they decided to cash in, which Ferguson would struggle to justify turning down. (Manchester Evening News)
It seems Sir Alex Ferguson is growing increasingly unhappy with a number of his Old Trafford performers and is ready to swing the axe in the summer if things do not approve. Whilst the likes of Nani seem to be overstaying their welcome it does seem a little bit much to be considering selling the likes of Vidic, Berbatov and Anderson.
Nemanja was considered one of the best centre backs on the planet little more than a year ago and whilst he has been a shadow of his usual self in recent months I can’t see Manchester United seeking to sell the Serbian, however if Vidic pushes for a move to Spain then Ferguson may just feel it is easier to allow him to leave than it would be to keep an unhappy player at the club and if the price was right then a deal could be struck.
Anderson also had a fine start to his Man United career but has been woefully inconsistent in the past season and a half and the Brazilian has made his feelings heard after getting annoyed at being on bench warming duties far too often but at this moment in time the midfielder is now showing enough quality to warrant a place in the starting eleven but he is still young enough to pull himself out of this slump and could be a very important player in the future, which brings us to Dimitar Berbatov.
The Bulgarian is a wonderfully talented player and I don’t think anyone can argue otherwise but there seems to be a great deal of concern about the number of goals he weighs in with. Yes the Tottenham man does so much more than put the ball in the back of the net but he certainly still needs to contribute more in cold hard terms than he currently does. Dimitar has taken part in 23 games this term and has managed to score just six times. He does a lot to assist his fellow team mates in the final third but one does wonder why he doesn’t manage to weigh in with at least 20 goals a season.
If Manchester United are looking to complete a potential mini clearout then clearly they will be looking to replace outgoing players and the quartet outlined by this source are all very attacking options and Hulk apart, the others are terrificly attractive propositions with David Silva and Karim Benzema looking the stand out players, but can either be tempted to leave Spain for the Premier League?