Tug-of-war set to ensue over Manchester United striker

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Russia and Germany are set to fight over the signing of Dimitar Berbatov, who has once again found himself down the pecking order at Manchester United.

The hitman, United’s record signing at £30.75m, has been left out of their past two games, despite hitting six goals in just three fixtures over the Christmas period.

With Sir Alex Ferguson now utilising Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck as his preferred forward pairing on a regular basis, several European clubs have declared their intent to offer the Bulgarian an Old Trafford escape route.

His contract is set to expire in the summer, and although Fergie has indicated that he would like to extend the deal for a further year, Berbatov is now free to discuss terms with clubs outside of the Premier League, with a view to a free transfer in July.

Of the Russian clubs keen to do business, CSKA Moscow wish to add to their already-impressive striking options, adding competition to a frontline which already features the powerful Seydou Doumbia and explosive Brazilian Vagner Love.

Anzhi Makhachkala are the other Eastern European club to show an interest, with the moneybags club eager to bring in Berbatov as part of a dream strike force alongside Samuel Eto’o, who earns around £300,000 a week in Russia.

That sort of wage structure could put Anzhi in the driver’s seat to seal the Bulgarian’s signature.

In Germany though, fancied Champions League outfit Bayern Munich want Berbatov to replace the outgoing Ivica Olic, who is set to exit in similar circumstances to the imperious forward, with his contract also up in the summer.

And Berbatov’s former employers Bayer Leverkusen also want to re-unite with the striker, who averaged more than a goal every two games during his first spell at the club.

The expressive forward could be tempted by the opportunity to return to familiar surroundings.

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