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Aug 29, 2012

Berbatov to join Fulham?

Fulham look set to respond swiftly to the sale of Moussa Dembele to Tottenham Hostpur, with Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov the latest to be linked with a surprise move to Craven Cottage - with Fiorentina enraged that the striker turned his back on them.

Fulham have already had a £2 million bid accepted for Sunderland's Kieran Richardson, with that transfer dependent on personal negotiation and, as Martin Jol seeks a first-choice forward, follow it with bids for Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis and now Berbatov.

For his part, the Bulgarian is understood to be hugely open to a move to the Cottage, having previously enjoyed his time under Jol with Spurs.

Fiorentina were originally believed to be at the front of the queue for Berbatov, before first Juventus and then Fulham declared their interest.

And in a day of twists and turns, Fiorentina released a statement condemning the behaviour of Berbatov and Juventus after the player went back on a verbal agreement to join the Serie A club.

The Manchester United striker is believed to have also done the same to Juve, instead citing family reasons for opting to join Premier League side Fulham.

His actions have incensed the Viola, who published the following press release late on Wednesday evening: "ACF Fiorentina announces that it missed the acquisition of the player Dimitar Berbatov after we had reached an agreement with Manchester United and a verbal understanding with the player on a contract.

"During today the English club had granted him written permission to travel to Florence for a medical and to sign a contract. The player - accompanied by his agent - embarked on a flight to Florence with tickets paid for by the club.

"But the player never arrived in Florence because of reckless and arrogant actions of other clubs which have nothing to do with the values of honesty, fair play and sporting ethics which lie beyond the boundaries of loyalty.

"As for the player, notwithstanding his characteristics and technical merit, at this point we are happy that he did not come to Fiorentina as he is not worthy of our city, our shirt and the values it represents."

However Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta later insisted that the club acted fairly in their pursuit of Berbatov, before confirming that Berbatov favours staying in England.

Marotta said: "We have much to discuss with Fiorentina. We have acted with the maximum fairness and transparency with regard to the market dynamics.

"I reject the allegations from Fiorentina. We entered into the business over Berbatov when we heard that he had refused Fiorentina, and in the meantime there was a proposal by Fulham.

"We made our own, then the player said he preferred to stay in England for family reasons. It was not a rejection. We wanted to take advantage of an opportunity that had appeared to us in the market. Many teams were following the player.''

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