Berbatov move expected before weekend

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The Independent Football

Manchester United are expected to have Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov in the side when they open their bid for a third Premier League title in a row against Newcastle United on Sunday.

Manager Alex Ferguson made it clear this week United are in the market for a striker and British media have reported Tottenham Hotspur's Berbatov as the target for weeks, fuelled by comments from the striker's agent last month that United were interested.

Whether or not the widely-tipped move goes through, United will be without Cristiano Ronaldo, who is recovering from ankle surgery and possibly Wayne Rooney, who has had a viral illness.

United will be the last of the League's "Big Four" to see action on the opening weekend of the new season, with Arsenal facing promoted West Bromwich Albion in an early kickoff at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Arsenal, who missed nine senior players for their midweek Champions League qualifier at Twente Enschede in the Netherlands but still won 2-0, will look to be sharper against West Brom.

Liverpool, who have brought in former Spurs striker Robbie Keane to spearhead the attack with Fernando Torres, visit Sunderland later on Saturday. They will be looking for goals after a frustrating 0-0 draw in Belgium against Standard Liege in their Champions League qualifier on Wednesday.

Chelsea, last season's runners-up and who are expected to provide the stiffest challenge to United again this season, face FA Cup winners Portsmouth on Sunday.