Ferguson ‘wants Berbatov out and Benzema in’
Transfer Talk: After two more dud performances, Man Utd boss gives up on the bungling Bulgarian
It's the news many Man Utd fans have been longing for, and it's got nothing to do with Gary Neville promising to shave off his little moustache. No, according to the Sun, Sir Alex Ferguson has reached the end of his tether as far as Dimitar Berbatov is concerned and will offload the striker at the end of the season.
Berbatov joined United from Spurs in September 2008 in a £30.75m deal, but the 29-year-old has since failed to live up to expectations. Such is Ferguson's lack of faith in Berbatov, reports the Sun, that against Bayern Munich last week he went with a crocked Wayne Rooney rather than risk his bungling Bulgarian. Berbatov has started the last two league games for United - the defeat to Chelsea and Sunday's goalless draw with Blackburn - but hasn't come close to finding the net.
The Sun says that Fergie will show Berbatov the door and then leave it open in the hope that Karim Benzema might choose to wander in. Even though, as reported by The First Post yesterday, the Real Madrid frontman has pledged his loyalty to his Spanish employers in a recent interview, Ferguson remains hopeful that he can entice the 22-year-old Frenchman to Old Trafford. Allegedly the United boss has put aside £25m for Benzema, £10m less than Real gave Lyon last year for his services.
The same paper says that on top of the £25m he is prepared to splash out on Benzema, Fergie is also ready to offer Valencia upwards of £30m for their winger David Silva, taking his total spending to £60m.
The Italian media report that Arsenal right-back Bacary Sagna might be on his way to Inter Milan this summer. Apparently the 27-year-old defender has touched base with officials from the Italian club, or at least that's what the player's agent claims, and agents are known to be as reliable as Wayne Rooney's ankle.
Inter see Sagna as a replacement for Maicon, currently being courted by Real Madrid, and the Frenchman is flattered says his agent, Christophe Mongal: "Inter officials have not made any official offer for Sagna, but we spoke. It was an informal meeting. I personally think that Sagna could be a realistic option for Inter if Maicon leaves at the end of the season."
But Mongal was quick to point out that his asset was staying put for the moment. "I would like to stress the fact that Sagna is happy in London and enjoys playing for Arsenal," said Mongal. "Obviously that does not mean he is staying for sure because football is business in the end." And they wonder who took the romance out of football?
Still on the subject of the Gunners' defence, the Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is chasing Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres, a versatile player who can play anywhere in the back four. The 23-year-old is on Barcelona's books but is on loan at Juventus at the moment, and is reportedly looking for a fresh start.
Caceres joined Barcelona last year but injuries have limited his opportunities, both at the Nou Camp and with Juventus. The Italian club are said to be loathe to pay Barcelona £10m to sign the defender permanently, which has caused Wenger to prick up his ears. The Gunners have had problems in defence this season with Mikael Silvestre struggling to rise to the challenge and Sol Campbell and William Gallas both the wrong side of 30.
Finally the Daily Mirror says that Manchester City, those cheeky northerners who dream of having Cesc Fabregas on their books, have now set their sights a bit lower - namely Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo. The 26-year-old Paraguayan has been in fine form for the Portuguese club this season and apparently City are lining up a summer bid.