Berbatov's 19-goal haul pays off with new deal at Old Trafford


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The Independent Football

Manchester United are ready to extend Dimitar Berbatov's contract for another two years, according to sources in his native Bulgaria. The 30-year-old's deal expires in the summer of 2012 and though it had been thought United were happy to wait until the summer before extending it, it appears an extension may be agreed within two weeks which would deliver a substantial increase on the striker's £100,000 a week deal. Though Sir Alex Ferguson has declared that Berbatov should deliver away from home as well as at Old Trafford, he has also suggested that he is capable of 30 goals this season.

The move marks a sea change for Berbatov, who before this season admitted he faced a fight simply to see out his current deal. "I will fight to stay until the end of my contract," he declared in pre-season, when he said he expected to face competition from a new striker.

But Javier Hernandez has posed more of a threat to Wayne Rooney, leaving Ferguson to drop the first hint a month ago that a new deal was in the pipeline for United's 19-goal leading scorer. "He's under contract at the moment. Is he going to stay? Yes, it's not an issue," Ferguson said recently.

The Bulgarian Trud newspaper suggested that Berbatov's agent Emil Danchev met United chief executive David Gill on Friday to discuss the striker's new deal.

Midfielder Park Ji-sung – who may be out for four weeks after a bad hamstring injury in training on Friday – and defender John O'Shea both turn 30 in the next few months, but United are thought to be happy to wait until the end of the season to address their futures.