Saturday, January 31, 2009

Berba Maligned for Spurs Woes

Former Tottenham director of football Damien Comolli has blamed the protracted transfer of Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United for Spurs' current woes.

Berbatov moved clubs at the eleventh hour of the summer transfer window for 32 million in a move that had been quite overdue.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had made no secret about his love for the classy Bulgarian over the years, and made comments to that effect during the transfer period.

Comolli also oversaw the departure of Robbie Keane, Bermatov's striking partner in what was arguably the most effective and dynamic attacking partnership of the 2007-2008 Premier League campaign.

How the Bulgarian is to blame for the club's demise is clear to Comolli: "I think the fact that Berbatov stayed so long, until the last day, made life for the coaching staff difficult."

However, United had been in for the player for years before the final day of the 2008 summer window when an inflated bid from Manchester City—which Berbatov denounced—made United increase their offer from 30m to 32m which Spurs accepted.

Then coach Juande Ramos admitted as early as May 2008 that he realized the striker wanted to move on to a bigger club to play Champions League football, adding "I'm sure the club would prefer to have the money because with the money they would be able to sign the players necessary."

Ferguson was coy initially about his pursuit of the striker, refusing to name which player he was after. Berbatov himself pleaded with Spurs for what he called his "dream move".

However, the transfer dragged on and became a saga. Berbatov made it clear he wanted to play for United after giving Spurs two fantastic years. Spurs, however, were holding out for more money without finding an apt replacement for the player.

On Sep. 1, 2008, Spurs sold Berbatov for 32m and bought Roman Pavyulchenko for 20m. Having sold Jermain Defoe the previous January, Spurs ultimately sold their three best strikers in 2008 for over 50m.

If Comolli and chairman Daniel Levy had accepted United's bid of 28m in July, instead of holding a month for 4m, the presence of Berbatov at the club, which Comolli blames for their current demise, would have been mitigated.

Of course, Spurs wanted as much money as possible for their star striker. If his presence was truely a nuisance surely they should have sacrificed a couple million pounds for the sake of their season?

When a player asks for a transfer to a specific club, which, in-turn, makes an exorbitant offer, the blame falls on people like Comolli and Levy, not Berbatov, for the future of their club.

In the current economic climate, as American President Obama heavily scrutinizes the bonuses of Wall Street executives, both Comolli and Levy might be thankful to be out of his jurisdiction.

Their own personal coffers were surely bolstered in direct proportion to Spurs' as they unloaded their players for the highest prices, in protracted transfer sagas founded in avarice, at the expense of the club's future, of which each are no longer a part.

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