Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov undergoes medical at Fulham


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is undergoing a medical at Fulham, manager Martin Jol revealed today.

Fulham tweeted on their official Twitter account: "Martin Jol reveals that Dimitar Berbatov is currently undergoing a medical at Fulham."

Fulham also revealed that Jol is confident a deal will be done for Sunderland winger Kieran Richardson. The Cottagers have already agreed a fee with the Black Cats for Frazier Campbell.

Yet it is the arrival of Berbatov that will excite Fulham fans, particularly following the departure of Moussa Dembele to Tottenham and the likely exit of Clint Dempsey. It also shows the ambition at Fulham says Jol, who insisted the Cottagers weren't simply reinvesting the money received from Spurs.

"As I said last week we are a healthy club, we didn't just need the Dembele money to spend before," he said.

"Of course you have to pay good players good money but I think we have made steps over the last few years and there have been many clubs interested in Dimitar.

"Maybe you saw a few things on the internet, they all tried to get him but we were able and capable of getting him. Hopefully everything is good and that means we are doing the business."

The future of the Bulgarian has come under huge speculation over the last 24 hours, when yesterday it appeared he was on the verge of joining Italian outfit Fiorentina.

Yet as soon as that surfaced, it was claimed their Serie A rivals Juventus had stepped in and hijacked the deal for the 2010/11 Premier League joint top scorer.

Either way, it appeared Berbatov was bound for Italy, yet it then emerged that Fulham manager Jol had intervened in a bid to link up with the player he signed while manager of Tottenham.

It has been widely reported that Berbatov would prefer to remain in England for family reasons, with Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta backing up those claims.

"We entered into the business over Berbatov when we heard that he had refused Fiorentina, and in the meantime there was a proposal by Fulham," he said.

"We made our own, then the player said he preferred to stay in England for family reasons. It was not a rejection.

"We wanted to take advantage of an opportunity that had appeared to us in the market. Many teams were following the player."

Fiorentina are furious over the events of the past 24 hours, releasing a statement yesterday which read: "ACF Fiorentina announces that the acquisition of Dimitar Berbatov finally fell through after an agreement had been reached with Manchester United [exchange of contract, the first instalment of the consideration paid and surety for the second instalment already signed] and after it had reached a verbal understanding with the player on his contract.

"During today, the English club granted its affiliated written permission for the player to travel to Florence for a medical and to sign the contract.

"[We thought] the player had embarked, accompanied by his attorney, on a flight - tickets paid for by Fiorentina - to Florence.

"But the player never arrived in Florence....because of reckless and arrogant actions of other companies, which have nothing to do with the values of honesty, fair play and ethics of sport and that lie beyond the boundaries of loyalty.

"As for the player, despite his characteristics and his technical merit, at this point we are happy that he did not come to Fiorentina. He did not deserve our city and our shirt and the values it represents."

Should Berbatov depart for the fee of £4m which has been widely quoted, United will make a loss of £27m on a player likened to Eric Cantona upon his arrival from Tottenham.

With the arrival of Robin van Persie, Berbatov's chances were always going to be limited this season, and the 31-year-old made clear he wished to move on.

It was thought the injury to Wayne Rooney, sustained ironically against Fulham at the weekend, may scupper Berbatov's exit, but Alex Ferguson has sanctioned a deal.

Despite being Manchester United's most expensive ever signing, Berbatov failed to nail down a place in Ferguson's team in what will be remembered as a generally disappointing spell at Old Trafford.

In his first season Berbatov scored 14 goals in all competitions, and in the next, just 12.

In the 2010/11 season, the former Bayer Leverkusen striker appeared to hit his stride somewhat, finishing the season as joint top scorer in the Premier League with 20 goals, although that owed largely to braces against smaller teams.

The emergence of Danny Welbeck limited Berbatov to just 12 league appearances for United last season, while he has not been used yet this term.

A hat-trick against Liverpool was Berbatov's best moment in a United shirt, but he will perhaps be best remembered for the casual penalty against Everton in the 2009 FA Cup semi-final, a spot-kick which encapsulated the striker's languid, and often frustrating style.