Lining up Dimitar Berbatov alongside the much-lamented Fernando Torres today and it’s not hard to see that the best striker in London is arguably the Bulgarian frontman.
Berbatov’s career seemed to be in disarray at Manchester United, who for some reason, treated Blagoevgrad’s favourite son rather badly. United paid £ 30m for him and despite having a good scoring record – 48 goals in 108 games – used him sparingly in his final season. His form at Fulham reveals that Alex Ferguson made an uncharacteristic error in the man management stakes.
Berbatov’s apparent lack of energy – he defines the word languid – is more than compensated by his use of the ball, his deft footwork and the effortless manner in which he finds the back of the net. There are very obvious comparisons with Eric Cantona.
But Berbatov, now 31, could prolong his career by dropping deeper into midfield and becoming the chief orchestrator in whatever team he happens to be plying his trade with. There is an element of Johann Cruyff in Berbatov, the gesturing, pointing, directing Cruyff that pushed the ball around the pitch like a field marshall moving troops into position.
Berbatov has already scored five goals in eight games for Fulham and it is not hard to envisage him being among the Premier League’s top marksmen this season. It is equally possible that Fulham will not be his final port of call in 2013 as people start to realize what they are missing.