Manchester United FC finally brought a close to their summer-long pursuit of Dimitar Berbatov when the Bulgaria forward completed his move to Old Trafford shortly before the transfer window shut on Monday night.
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Berbatov has signed a four-year contract with the Premier League and European champions, with United paying an undisclosed fee – thought to be around €38m – for a player who joined Tottenham in 2006 from Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Berbatov struck 27 goals in 70 league appearances for Tottenham during the last two seasons but had appeared only once for the north London club this term amid speculation about his imminent departure from White Hart Lane. As part of the deal, 20-year-old United striker Fraizer Campbell will spend the rest of the campaign with Spurs.
On a day of intrigue, there were strong media reports that Tottenham had accepted a bid from United's neighbours Manchester City FC for the forward but it is his desired destination, Old Trafford, that Berbatov will now call home after Sir Alex Ferguson made his first, and only, significant signing of the summer. "Joining Manchester United is a dream come true for me," the Sofia-born player said. "I look forward to playing my part in helping this club win more honours in the years to come."
Leader of the line
With Louis Saha leaving for Everton FC, Berbatov will provide a welcome addition to the striking department for Sir Alex and, as a natural leader of the line, the 27-year-old should complement perfectly the attacking qualities of Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tévez and Cristiano Ronaldo. His new manager said: "This is a key signing. His style and ability will give the team a different dimension and I'm sure he will be a popular player with the fans. Dimitar is one of the best and most exciting strikers in world football."
Berbatov started his career with PFC CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria's top flight before switching to Bayer 04 Leverkusen, where he achieved an impressive scoring rate with 69 goals in 154 Bundesliga outings. A substitute for the losing Leverkusen team in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, he has also found the net 41 times in 64 appearances for his country.