The New Cantona?

Why Ferguson is making a mistake buying Berbatov

Manager bites off more than he can chew…


Yes, the deal isn’t quite done yet, but Man United always get their man – Tevez, Hargreaves, Carrick, Rooney, Ferdinand, Kleberson… to name just six. In fact, Berbatov eventually packing up his smokes and venturing up north has never really been in doubt, and in a chilling moment of honesty, Sir Alex even admitted to watching the Bulgarian from afar for the last seven long years. This is a love affair that was always going to happen. It’s their destiny.

Yet, patient or not, Ferguson is making a big mistake. Berbatov is a brilliant player, that’s never been in doubt, but how could the red-nosed Scot possibly squeeze him into the first team without ruffling feathers and obliterating egos? Has greed finally got the better of him?

Already up front United have Rooney, Tevez and Saha battling it out for two spots, and should he stay, Cristiano Ronaldo will insist on being the only dreamy heart-throb at the club. Plus, of course, attacking players like Scholes, Giggs and Park Ji-Sung are still patiently plying their wares, albeit to a lessening degree. The real problem is that Ferguson has forever been searching for the next Cantona, even though he doesn’t really need one. Berbatov is as close to the Frenchman as we’ve seen on these shores.

The big difference, however, is that Cantona came along at a time when United was jam-packed with sturdy bruisers hoofing the ball around – his mercurial flair worked because he was granted permission to sprinkle his fairy dust and create good looking football. Something United are doing all by themselves now.

Could they seriously work with Rooney or Tevez banished to one of the flanks? And has Sir Alex finally been unmasked as a modern day version of the Great Gatsby, desperately trying to relive the past?

You need to let go, Ferguson, Cantona’s gone.

18 responses so far
  • Vinny // July 18, 2008 at 10:53 am

    ‘plying their wares’ ?

  • David Q // July 18, 2008 at 10:54 am

    This article has no substance at all, he’s clearly signing him for more attacking options. He rotated quite a lot last seasons and he obviously intends to do the same thing this year, The united players don’t have massive ego’s. I’ve never seen anyone lose the plot when being subbed or not starting, they’re all in acceptance that if you want to win titles you need to rotate on a regular basis.

  • John Schembri // July 18, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Do I detect even the slightest hint of envy here? Get a life !!!!!!!! Better still, rid us all of your miserable existence !!!!!!!!!

  • bruce thomas // July 18, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Well Saha is outof the picture, and we can rotate Rooney Tevez and Berbatovwith who ever else comes in — Sanchez, Huntellar… Taggart likes 4 strikers (Cole, Yorke, Sheringham, Solksjaer). So we will be back up to strength soon. Berbatov has the best first touch in the business, bar none, including Kaka, Messi and Spartacus (the slave) Ronaldo. Ronaldo is going to have to eat some humble pie, buckle down and win back a few hearts and minds.

  • Andy // July 18, 2008 at 11:08 am

    WHy mention Saha vying for a start, we all know he is injured permanently as is ready to be off loaded asap, we were lucky with injuries last year, look what happend to Rooney at the start of the season. left with one striker.
    All Man United fans know we need another quality striker, yes Berbatov has had his spats when not starting at Spurs but he won;t whinge at United as he knows the quality and games will come

  • chalovesmonkeys // July 18, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Great article. I’ve never really thought of it, but I guess Berbatov is the most Cantona-esque player since old Easter Island features bogged off to play on beaches.

    I agree with you – he’d be unecessary at United and I really can’t see him wearing red.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

  • dave // July 18, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    So who knows better ….some writer probably shacked at home in his 30s living with his mum, or a guy whose won 10 league titles and 2 european cups with united….case closed.

  • rolo // July 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    shite post.

  • bruce thomas // July 18, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Andy… nobody mentioned saha “vying for a start” I said he was “out of the picture” i.e. — parmanently injured and ready to be off-loaded — you’re only arguing with yourself :)

    Meanwhile those who have only just spotted the resemblence of King Eric to Berbatov have obviously not read Gary Pallister’s comprehensive piece on the subject.

    Does Manucho count as a bona fide striker yet?

  • shingadia fc // July 18, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Fegie proveD last season that rotation worked in the midfield, and so he may aswell do the same with the attack upfront. Rooney and Tevez are bound to get tried, so they need support in rotation. Furthermore, fergie has already proven this tactic, remember the days of rotation with cole, yorke, sheringham and solskjear….BRILLIANT

  • Amish // July 19, 2008 at 12:42 am

    This is a daft article.

    Saha? How reliable was he last year?? Which means you only have Tevez and Rooney as the only proper official forwards…

    Your also telling me Berbatov could upset the apple cart?? Why because he may not play every game or Champions league game, while hes been languishing in mid table mediocrity with Spuds??

    Oh and Ronaldo being the only heart-throb at the club? I dont care about that. I dont think any only fan does. These guys are paid to do a job…And well!!

    And the paragraph which stated Cantona came around when there were sturdy bruisers???? I think we should give more credit to Keane and Ince, while we had Giggs (a real bruiser) and Kanchelskis (oh yeah!!), Cole and Sheringham….

    I’m sorry a pretty lame article!!!

    Berbatov will be a great signing….We have Ronney who can be the man playing off the front man now, we have a target man

    We have strength in depth up front. This makes us the complete team with our defence and midfield….Especially with Ronnie staying!!

  • omar_mufc // July 19, 2008 at 2:55 am

    I dont know if I’m correct, but I’m assuming that your seeing united lining up in a 4-4-2 next season, when plainly, that will not be the case. If anything, it will be a 4-2-3-1, with Berbatov up front on his own wih Tevez, Rooney, and Ronaldo roaming behind him.
    Also, with Ronaldo’s mid-to-long-term future at the club very much in doubt, I would not be surprised at all if we see a marginalisation of Ronaldo on the field this coming season, possibly in the shape of a new system which doesnt cater Ronaldo’s abilities fully, or alternatively, Nani may develop into the perfect replacement…Well, one can but hope :)

  • rooney // July 19, 2008 at 3:54 am

    well i do not think this has to do anything with Cantona. although Carrick is great, we still have a sort of a gap considering the fact that Giggsie and Scholsey cannot stay fit throughout the season. We only have 4 quality mid-fielders, Ronaldo, Carrick, Giggs and Scholes. The replacements — are two fold: Anderson/Nani haven’t matured enough while Park/ O’Shea/Eagles are hard working but not of top quality. Last season has shown us that both Rooney and Tevez do great playing down the pitch in midfield and have proved the vision/passing ability. By buying Berbatov, Fergie is not only adding an extra attacking option, but infact trying to keep Rooney/Tevez as possible replacements for Ronaldo, Giggs and Scholes when more experience/attacking situations (like games against Milan, Liverpool, Chelsea) are in demand. And in all this, we will still have a quality striker upfront in Berbatov, unlike Saha, who you can never count on.

  • ramjet // July 19, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Saha can’t be counted. He’ll never make it at Man United cause his body seems to react negative to the prospect of playing for the club. Best for all parts woul be if he left – if not I doubt we’ll ever so more than the odd five-six performances a year from him.

  • ramjet // July 19, 2008 at 8:15 am

    As goes for the there’s no room for a Berbatov at United… We’ve had a recognised need for a new striker both in quality and depth since Solskjaer put his boots up and Henke Larsson left us after his short spell. I regard Rooney much more as the player to play in the hole behind a striker(s), taking on a Scholes type of role, than the up front striker. Manucho could be good but we never know (has he got a work permit yet?). Tevez is perfectly suited to play in a three-lined offensive midfield in the 4-2-3-1-system mentioned earlier, out wide. He’s always working his socks offfor the team, defends well and playing wide in midfield will not stop him from popping up tapping in those vital goals for us now and then. In a 4-4-2 the need for a new striker is even more obvious because neither Tevez or Rooney is clinical strikers, they’re to small (in height) – and they are all to similar in styl of play to be used shoulder to shoulder.
    Saha would be that different striker that we need, if fit – wich he sadly never will be. Hoping for a new season of brilliance with just two recognised strikers will be pushing our luck so finding a world class striker with those ‘different’ qualitys is vital. And I can’t quite see many who fit the description better than Dimitar Berbatov. By the way; the Cantona-factor was mentioned and Berbatov might bring some of that style back to OT. Also remember that Scholes will not last forever and Berbatov also hold some of the qualitys of the priceless Scholes (in terms of vision, creativity, calmness and power).

  • CP // July 19, 2008 at 8:49 am

    He isn’t as good as you all make out

  • poli // July 20, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    i’m sure he’s good enough but noone can see it really before it becomes afact.if he goes and become a part of of united you’ll see for what kind of player i’m talking now…HE’S BRILLIANT NO HE’S MAGISIAN ANDonly i regret for the fact that he had’nt have a chance to play in big team earlier.

  • COYS // July 25, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Any Premier league player who smokes in this day and age obviously has something strange about him. Berbatov is special alright, but he’s also lazy and has an attitude problem. I say good riddance to him. Hopefully Spurs can get Arshavin and Bentley, along with Modric and Dos Santos, we are starting to build a fantastic team which could hopefully go on to do great things. COYS!

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