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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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Dimitar Berbatov-to-Italy deal falls through

The Dimitar Berbatov transfer to the Italian league is off -- for now.

Serie A side Fiorentina had reportedly agreed to acquire the Manchester United striker, but Fiorentina issued a statement Wednesday saying the deal had all but dissolved.

"ACF Fiorentina announces that the acquisition of Dimitar Berbatov finally fell through after an agreement had been reached with Manchester United [exchange of contract, the first instalment of the consideration paid and surety for the second instalment already signed] and after it had reached a verbal understanding with the player on his contract," Fiorentina said in the statement.

Reuters had reported earlier that the Viola had reached an agreement with Berbatov on a two-year deal with an option for an additional year. But Fiorentina said the deal fell apart and accused fellow Italian side Juventus of scuppering it with "reckless and arrogant actions."

"[We thought] the player had embarked, accompanied by his attorney, on a flight -- tickets paid for by Fiorentina -- to Florence," the statement read. "But the player never arrived in Florence....because of reckless and arrogant actions of other companies, which have nothing to do with the values of honesty, fair play and ethics of sport and that lie beyond the boundaries of loyalty."

Juve director general Giuseppe Marotta confirmed to Sky Sport Italia that a Berbatov transfer bid of his own had collapsed and said the forward was on the verge of signing for Fulham.

But he shot down accusations from Fiorentina that Juve had acted to thwart its Italian counterpart's plan to land the Bulgarian.

"I reject the allegations from Fiorentina," Sky Sport Italia quoted him as saying. "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 [offer], then the player said he preferred to stay in England for family reasons," Marotta said. "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."

Berbatov has scored 48 league goals at United, helping it to two Premier League titles, but his Old Trafford future has been in doubt since he was left out of the squad for the 2010-11 Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley.

Despite slipping down the pecking order last year he reminded any potential suitors of his goal-scoring class with a hat trick against Wigan last December, before adding two more in the unexpected home defeat to Blackburn five days later.

Last month he admitted he was resigned to leaving the club this summer, saying it would be "better for everyone" if he exited Old Trafford.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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