FULHAM’S Dimitar Berbatov has emerged as a surprise target for Spanish giants Barcelona with manager Gerardo Martino intrigued by the technique and experience of the former Manchester United and Tottenham striker.
Reports in Spain suggest that Barca are contemplating adding short-term cover for the injured Lionel Messi and Berbatov’s name is on the list.
Whilst Martino is thought to have faith in Neymar and Alexis Sanchez, the Argentinian boss is open to the idea of adding a veteran back-up “just in case” if costs can be kept down.
And while alternatives like Robert Lewandowski, Sergio Aguero and Didier Drogba could all come with significant price-tags attached in January, the Catalan club are more optimistic about Berbatov.
The Bulgarian is out of contract at Craven Cottage and Barca believe he may be allowed to leave in January for a nominal fee if he makes it clear he will not sign a new contract.
The 32-year-old could be lured to Spain by the prospect of one final shot at playing at the highest level, even in a reduced role to that he enjoys in west London.
However, it remains to be seen whether Berbatov’s wage demands and expectations about playing time are compatible with Barca’s requirements.
Messi is expected to miss up to eight weeks with a hamstring tear picked up in last Sunday’s match against Real Betis.