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25 Agustus 2008

Spurs usher £25m Berbatov towards exit

Tottenham Hotspur have insisted it was they, and manager Juande Ramos, who took the decision to leave Dimitar Berbatov out of the squad that lost to Sunderland on Saturday and that it was not the unsettled striker who told them he did not want to play.
Berbatov is determined to fulfil his "dream" of signing for Manchester United and the Old Trafford club, having seen one bid of £20m rejected, are preparing another worth £25m, which they are confident will finally close the deal.
Tottenham value the Bulgarian at £30m and it seemed a strange tactic for them to issue a statement before the Sunderland game, which carried quotes from Ramos, explaining that Berbatov was not... "focused enough" and would not "be good for the dressing-room and the team effort". The statement effectively conceded that Berbatov was lost as a player to Tottenham and appeared to give United the upper hand in the wrangle.
Ramos had picked Berbatov the previous Saturday, albeit as a substitute, in the defeat at Middlesbrough and the player scored twice for Bulgaria in their 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina last Wednesday. "I believe he was superb [for Bulgaria]," Ramos said on Thursday. "Let's hope he has something left in the tank to help us gain a victory on Saturday." The Spaniard's subsequent meeting with Berbatov, though, ended with the player being dropped from the squad.
Ramos, who said that he did not know whether Berbatov was at the stadium on Saturday, was asked whether Tottenham should not pay him if he refused to play. "You should ask the club," he replied.
It was also put to him that Roy Keane, the Sunderland manager, said he would drive any unsettled player of his to whichever club he wanted. "That's an interesting point of view," mused Ramos. As a result Ramos had only one striker, Darren Bent, against Sunderland. "Of course there are repercussions [to the Berbatov situation]," he said. "We were only able to play with one forward and I had no forwards on the bench to change things."