Juande Ramos, the Tottenham manager, underlined the uncertainty surrounding Dimitar Berbatov's future yesterday when he said he would make a late decision on whether he will feature for Spurs against Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Saturday. Meanwhile, Hull City's confidence that they will take Manchester United's young striker Frazier Campbell on loan again contributes to a sense that the Bulgarian's move to Old Trafford may be imminent.
Hull have confirmed the signing of Spurs defender Anthony Gardner, for a club-record fee of £2.5m, which clears a loan berth for Campbell, whom Sir Alex Ferguson had indicated might be needed at United for the coming season with the squad short of fit strikers.
Berbatov trained in London yesterday and the prospects of him being at Old Trafford in time for Sunday's curtain-raiser against Newcastle United do appear to be receding, since the paperwork would have to be completed by 5pm today. Though Ramos resolutely refused to discuss him or his future, he acknowledged that it was a time of uncertainty.
Spurs have said Berbatov will not go before a replacement is found and that quest is far from complete. United are working on a deal for Berbatov and Spurs' belief that Barcelona are also monitoring the 27-year-old could move negotiations along on the eve of the Premier League season.
The club dismissed suggestions that they might be making a move for their former striker Frédéric Kanouté from the Ramos's former club, Seville. Kanouté scored 21 times for Spurs before leaving for Spain three years ago but does not appear to be the solution the club are looking for.
The pursuit of Andrei Arshavin is less clear. The complexities of dealing with a Russian club, Zenit St Petersburg, and their intransigence have led the pursuit of Arshavin onto the rocks. Spurs have indicated they are ready to look elsewhere for a striker, though this may be designed to shake some response out of the Russians.
Sources at Spurs point out that there are two weeks remaining in the transfer window for United to meet their demands of £25-28m for Berbatov. Ramos said: "He's an excellent pro, he's been working totally independently to anything that might be happening outside the football and any speculation has been dealt by his agent. He's just been getting on with things professionally in training."
Should the saga drag into the first week of the season, Ramos will make a late decision on whether Berbatov should feature against Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
United's goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, meanwhile, will decide in December if he wants to continue playing for another season. He told Voetbal International: "I must be able to do then what I can do now. If everyone's satisfied, OK. But if you are confronted with injuries and you miss long periods, then you look at it differently."Reuse content