Skip to content

Should Fulham sell “lazy” Berbatov in January or keep the mercurial striker?

Dec 6, 2013, 7:16 AM EDT

BerbatovFull Getty Images

With Fulham struggling to produce anything of quality this season, Rene Meulensteen has taken the reigns, tasked with rescuing the storied London club.

The green manager’s biggest challenge will be to inspire a squad that seems to have little fire burning beneath them at times.

“It’s a massive challenge,” Meulensteen told Sky Sports. “But at the end of the day, when you’re faced with a challenge like this, it comes down to making sure you get the basic things right.”

The biggest challenge of the squad is none other than its name-brand striker Dimitar Berbatov.

The 32-year-old Bulgarian throughout his career has been on the end of a back-and-forth debate between fans and pundits alike. Some criticize him for a lack  in the work rate department, others praise him for moments of brilliance on the ball with a brilliant first touch and pinpoint accuracy.

With just a single Premier League goal to his name this season in 12 starts, Fulham’s number-9  has given his critics new life and new ammunition.

“We need to make sure that you stay mentally strong, that the fans are getting behind the team, and we need to make sure that the players stay mentally strong and believe,” Meulensteen said to Sky. ” And then you make sure you get the basic things right, work rate, discipline, that sort of thing.”

source: Getty Images

It’s been a trying year for Dimitar Berbatov, with Fulham in 18th position and struggling to maintain its Premier League status.

Berbatov has proven to be Meulensteen’s biggest conundrum in the work-rate department, and that’s not news to anyone.

The Mirror’s Darren Lewis called him a “luxury player” and said, “In the situation they find themselves, Fulham now need fighters and scrappers. Not flair players more suited to a grander stage.”

Whether Meulensteen can not only transform his position from temporary to permanent but also transform the club from bottom-3 caliber to Premier League assured will no doubt hinge on a correct decision regarding their main man at the front.

Berbatov’s agent Emil Dantchev told the Mirror that rumors of his client’s desire to leave Craven Cottage this January are true.  He was quoted as saying “Dimitar is not happy at Fulham.”

But not so fast.

In Fulham’s energetic 2-1 loss to Tottenham midweek, Berbatov looked at times a new man.  He showed more touches of brilliance than the entire season prior. Sure there were lackluster moments as well, but it was a clear improvement.

Should the Cottagers decide to offload their biggest signing of the last few years, it would potentially save them a good £2 million ($3.27 million) in wages.  However, they’d also become even more barren in the attack.  After all, Fulham have scored a paltry 12 goals all year, with just Darren Bent and an injured Hugo Rodallega waiting in the wings.

Should Rene Meulensteen give in to the vultures, with clubs like Trabzonspor and West Ham circling, or should he stay the course and keep faith in his main man?

It’s hard to say what the right answer is, but the other options sure don’t seem much better, if better at all.

Latest Posts
  1. PST’s Major League Soccer Power Rankings – The faith-destroying edition

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:48 PM EDT

    Omar Gonzalez

    FC Dallas’s short reign is over, with a familiar name returning to the top spot.

  2. ACL tear brings premature end to Tally Hall’s season

    Sep 2, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT

    2011 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo Training Session Getty Images

    Houston’s defense suffers a setback, with Hall expected to be sidelined for 6-9 months.

  3. PST’s Major League Soccer Player of the Week: LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan

    Sep 2, 2014, 6:08 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Union v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    A one-goal, four-assist week means another legend claims our honor.

  4. What tomorrow’s goalkeeper platoon tells us about the U.S. goalkeeper void

    Sep 2, 2014, 5:18 PM EDT

    Turkey v United States Getty Images

    This was supposed to be Guzan’s audition. Instead, this looks like competition.

  5. Jozy Altidore to captain U.S. Wednesday against Czech Republic

    Sep 2, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT

    Altidore Getty Images

    Altidore’s 74th cap will feature the U.S.’s armband, with Jurgen Klinsmann having handed his striker the honor for tomorrow’s friendly in Prague.

  6. With Radamel Falcao, can Manchester United challenge for the Premier League?

    Sep 2, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Falcao AP

    Colombian hotshot signs for the Red Devils on Deadline Day. Will his move guarantee goals, and maybe more?

  7. EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off his club debut, young Emerson Hyndman takes his USMNT chance in stride

    Sep 2, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Hyndman2 Getty Images

    At just 18 years old, Emerson Hyndman has come through the Fulham youth ranks and is turning heads at all levels. He speaks to ProSoccerTalk about the chances coming all at once.

  8. Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta signs new five-year deal at Chelsea

    Sep 2, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Chelsea Training Session and Press Conference Getty Images

    Blues sign full back to new long-term deal at Stamford Bridge.

  9. PHOTO: San Antonio reveal stunning stadium expansion plans, aim for MLS entry

    Sep 2, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Source: San Antonio Scorpions Source: San Antonio Scorpions

    Scorpions reveal stunning stadium plans, as the latest lower-league side plans for MLS expansion.

  10. Confirmed: Tom Cleverley signs for Aston Villa on season-long loan

    Sep 2, 2014, 11:29 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Cleverley arrives at Villa Park after late, late loan move on Deadline Day.

  11. From Prague, with love: Klinsmann previews USA’s friendly vs. Czech Republic

    Sep 2, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Jürgen Klinsmann AP

    Speaking ahead of the USA’s clash in Prague, here’s what Klinsmann had to say.

  12. Captain Bastian: Schweinsteiger named new skipper of Germany

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

    Brazil Soccer WCup Germany Argentina AP

    Bayern Munich midfielder to lead Germany after Lahm’s retirement.

  13. Record summer: Breaking the transfer window down, by the numbers

    Sep 2, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Manchester United Angel Di Maria AP

    Where did the cash go? Who spent the most? Which records tumbled?

  14. Cristiano Ronaldo hits out at Real Madrid’s transfer moves

    Sep 2, 2014, 8:26 AM EDT

    Ancelotti's ability to adjust to Atletico's neutralization of Cristiano Ronaldo is a token of his genius. AP

    Ronaldo’s not happy that Alonso, Di Maria were allowed to leave in the window.

  15. Maradona’s quote after Pope’s inter-religious peace match is priceless

    Sep 1, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT

    201409011528557269254 AP

    “Today two powers were brought together, the hand of God and that of the Pope,” Maradona joked. No, really. That’s what he said.

  16. Premier League Team of the Week: Find out who starred on Matchday 3

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT

    Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League Getty Images

    From a 18-year-old Jamaican-English midfielder to a 34-year-old veteran goalkeeper, this team takes a ride through all types of players.

  17. Premier League player of the week — Round 3

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

    diego_costa Getty Images

    In the end, the player had to come from the nine-goal thriller at Goodison Park.

Featured video

Official: Welbeck signs for Arsenal