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Dimitar Berbatov – How much longer will you give him?

We’ve been split down the middle with our opinions of Dimitar Berbatov ever since he made the decision to swap North London for Old Trafford. You’ve had those supporters that are mesmerised by his beautiful touch and close control and then there are fans who continually berate his unambiguous lacksidasical style that, at the end of the day, epitomises him as a player.

The criticisms of the former Spurs man will undoubtedly spread like wildfire after his pathetic attempt at a penalty on Sunday, although after a somewhat average season thus far, can you really argue that these criticisms aren’t justified?

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Bulgarian from day one, I’ll quite happily admit that for starters. The whole Tottenham sulk affair was frustrating and although Spurs can’t escape blame for the handling of the transfer, Berbatov shouldn’t get away scot free for his attitude either.

In all honesty, I couldn’t really comprehend why we were splashing out so much money on a player that we didn’t really need. We had just won a domestic and European double with Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney leading the line, so why complicate things by bringing in a striker who doesn’t take criticism, and more importantly squad rotation lightly. Fortunately we haven’t experienced what could be described as an infamous Berbatov sulk as of yet, mainly due to Ferguson’s apparent unending desire to prove that he has made the right decision in signing him. Look at Tevez scoring four goals in the Carling Cup earlier in the season and then being dropped the following game. I ask would Berbatov really have received the same treatment.

Despite my early pessimism, there’s certainly no denying the positives that Berbatov brings to the table. His first touch is, at times, breathtaking. The way he almost effortlessly slows down play can also be extremely effective. There’s also the fact that as much as he hasn’t found his goalscoring touch thus far for United, Dimitar Berbatov does know how to hit the back of the net. In his time with both Spurs and Leverkusen he averaged just short of a goal every other game and that’s not a record to be scorned at.

So where does my gripe and the gripe of many other United fans really stem from? Well if we ignore his lazy and what often seems uninterested style of play, I just don’t see what Berbatov is giving us at the moment. Carlos Tevez is in a similar predicament with his lack of goals and fundamentally average performances but his desire and attitude has won us over and that does go some way to make up for his lack of cutting edge in front of goal. Indeed, how will we all react if our bustling Argentine centre-forward does decide to move in the summer in search of first-team football? Berbatov will no doubt again prove to be the brunt of the blame.

Sure the fancy flicks and gorgeous touches can be pleasing on the eye but at a time when results are a necessity, surely Berbatov needs to start offering a hell of a lot more. At the end of the day at £30 odd million he was presumably brought in to help spearhead our attack and was billed the final piece to a jigsaw that had arguably already been completed.

It’s ultimately a tough one. There’s no doubt that Berbatov has the ability to become a hugely successful player for us but is eight goals in 25 league games really an acceptable return? Every player needs time to adjust to new surroundings but will those fans who are strictly opposed to his consistent selection be prepared to give him another season to prove his worth? I’m certainly not giving up hope on him yet but my patience is wearing thin with every passing minute.

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