Dimitar Berbatov's agent has said that the Manchester United striker is embarrassed to be receiving a high salary while barely playing for the club and will accept his departure this summer with good grace, rather than enter into a battle with his employers like Carlos Tevez has done at City.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed last week that Berbatov's lack of playing time may presage his departure at the end of the season and the player's representative, Emil Danchev, has told Bulgarian media that the £30.75m striker will seek a new club this summer, outside England.
"We accept that Sir Alex Ferguson is [building] his next Manchester United for the next three to four years and the future of Manchester United is not related to Mitko," said Emil Danchev, using the nickname by which Berbatov is known in Bulgaria. "Sir Alex wants to change the style of play of United, to put more speed in the game. I wanted Manchester to announce that if any team that wants to go for Mitko, they will sit down and negotiate. Mitko must endure this situation. It is not his style to start making scandals like Tevez.
"Up against Chicharito [Javier Hernandez], [Wayne] Rooney and [Danny] Welbeck, [Berbatov is competing with] talented forwards. The only thing all those players have more of than Mitko is speed. Berbatov is more technical. It is not by way of punishment that [he has been] left outside of the [main] group and it is not Scottish stubbornness [on Ferguson's part]. Ferguson has lost [out in] domestic cups, the Champions League and Europa League this season and I think it will be very difficult to defend their title in England."
There has been a frustration at United about Berbatov's languid style. Ferguson's assistant, Mike Phelan, admitted last year that getting the best out of the striker could be a challenge. But a record of 49 goals in 82 Premier League appearances for the club shows that Berbatov has roughly maintained the strike rate he enjoyed at Bayer Leverkusen, and improved on his rate at Tottenham, where his performances made Ferguson so determined in his pursuit of the player.
Danchev said that he had had three meetings with Ferguson, at which it became clear that United will not stand in Berbatov's way this summer and will help to find him a new club – despite this month taking up the option to extend his contract by a further year. "I was pleased by [Ferguson's] assessment of Berbatov," Danchev said.
"The position of the club is: 'We will not interfere. We are open to offers and if one comes in then we will not make difficulties.' At a recent meeting, Mitko said: 'I am not getting enough playing time. I want to play [in] my last years. I am uncomfortable [because] I'm getting money, but [am not] working.'
"Money has always been of secondary importance to Mitko. He just wants to play. I [don't know] why Ferguson took time to [reach this position]. In the three [earlier] meetings he promised: 'Yes, you will have the chance to play. I can not guarantee a start but you will play'."