Controversy abounding on the Twittersphere (ugh) this afternoon as the usually reliable former SSN reporter Steve Bateman relayed the following intriguing piece of information:
Clearly, as Bateman provides no more probative details than the above, and since neither Dimitar Berbatov nor his agent, nor indeed anyone at Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester United, have done anything to fuel speculation about a possible move for the Bulgarian back to White Hart Lane, it's difficult to take this report with anything more than a grain of salt. Equally, however, a lot of things about this deal do make sense. Berbatov has already come out in recent weeks and said that his time at United is finished, and at the age of 31 it's likely that he's looking for minutes rather than wages, thus creating the possibility that he'd fall back within the confines of Tottenham's wage structure. Many would also argue that Berbatov is still good enough to play for a top six club in the Premier League, and the club has a glaring need for a striker at the moment, particularly one as prolific as Berbatov, who notched up 15 league goals in 2007/8 for Spurs before going on to win the Golden Boot with the Red Devils in 2011.
Looking at things from another perspective, however, what doesn't add up about this deal is the underlying implication that Daniel Levy would welcome Berbatov back with open arms to the club after he virtually went on strike to force his United transfer in 2008, let alone expect the White Hart Lane faithful to. Berbatov burnt a lot of bridges in his final weeks with Tottenham and after forming such a widely-admired partnership with Robbie Keane and helping Tottenham fans to aspire towards greater things, his lack of respect for the shirt and the way he orchestrated his own exit was viewed by many as a betrayal of the club that made him.
There are a number of other caveats that should be added on to this summary in terms of the future of Berbatov's footballing career. Though the striker did net 7 goals in 5 starts last season, at other times against clubs such as Ajax in the Europa League, Berba looked off the pace and struggled to show off the instinct for clinical finishes that had made his name. At 31, with his fitness presumably starting to head south, it's unlikely that Berbatov will put in the dynamic shifts that other younger strikers could provide for the club. This shouldn't be a huge problem considering the fact that Berba has always been renowned for his languid style of play, yet for the kind of huge wages the former Bulgaria captain will command, one might question whether bringing in a slowing veteran is the best step forward for the club. At worst, it chafes with the club's current transfer policy of bringing younger prospects on lower wages to take the club former in the future.
Naturally all this is still prime pie in the sky material at the moment, yet with the new season looming it's possible that deals like this will soon start to move very quickly. With that in mind, the time seems right to start seriously pondering whether a return for Berba would be a good move for the club.