Tottenham keen to keep Berbatov

Tottenham are expected to remain reluctant to sell Dimitar Berbatov despite the Bulgaria striker submitting a formal transfer request on Friday.

It is understood that Berbatov handed in his request to sporting director Damien Comolli and chairman Daniel Levy the day before he was named on the bench in the 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough.

Earlier in the summer, Levy feared Berbatov would have a negative influence on the dressing room after making it clear he wanted to leave for Manchester United.

United had a bid of £20.5m rejected last month and have not made another offer, although Spurs have insisted they do not want to sell.

However, the transfer saga has entered a crucial stage following Berbatov's request, followed by comments on his arrival for international duty.

"I'm now in Tottenham but no-one can disagree with me wanting to follow my dream," Berbatov said.

The 27-year-old, who played 25 minutes at the Riverside after coming off the bench, defended his manner on the bench.

He added: "If I had been laughing when I was on the bench, people would say I was an idiot.

"Eric Cantona never smiled, but I don't know if anyone ever asked him why he didn't look happier."

Spurs are continuing to look at forward before the end of the transfer window. At the moment they are concentrating away from Andrei Arshavin, but could return to the Russia forward if other avenues are blocked.