Manchester United’s record signing Dimitar Berbatov has told Alex Ferguson he his frustrated with his role as a bit-part player with the Red Devils.
Berbatov fell out of favour following the emergence of Javier Hernandez in the latter third of last season and didn’t even make the squad for last May’s Champions League final.
Things have got little better for the Bulgarian since despite scoring five goals in two games over the Christmas period.
Ferguson confirmed the pair have spoken about the Berbatov’s predicament. And, for the first time, the United boss conceded it is likely his £30.75m costliest purchase will be leaving in the summer.
“We will be taking up the option on his contract but, having had chats with him, I understand he wants to get first-team football,” said Ferguson.
“It is something we need to consider at the end of the season. For a player of his age and his ability it is disappointing for him that he is not getting first-team football.
“We will look at the end of the season but until then, he remains at United.”
Berbatov has won two Premier League titles, scored 56 goals in 147 United appearances and shared the Golden Boot prize with Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez last term.
However, the 31-year-old has been shunted even further down the pecking order following the emergence of Danny Welbeck this term and has made just 19 appearances, including five Premier League starts.
Although he has plenty of admirers, Berbatov has never been able to shake off the tag of being a luxury player, whose laid-back style is at odds with United’s traditional all-action approach.
United have triggered the one-way clause in his four-year contract but that means little other than ensuring he will not be able to leave on a Bosman free transfer in the summer.
“He could play against Bilbao but I have good options in terms of front players with Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney,” said Ferguson.
“His concern is not getting first-team football. At 31, he is looking at first-team football.
“It is difficult for me to guarantee that so it could lead to him looking elsewhere.”