Dimitar Berbatov may have entered the new Premier League season as the reigning top goalscorer, but the Bulgarian has been shunted down the pecking order at Manchester United.
Having been omitted from the Champions League final squad to face Barcelona at the end of last season, there were plenty assuming that Berbatov was set for a Manchester United exit.
Paris Saint-Germain have been interested in Berbatov all summer and the big-spending French club approached Manchester Untied with a view to signing them, but their efforts were quickly rebuffed.
“I had Ferguson on the phone but he told me he was counting on Berbatov and that he was not for sale,” Leonardo told France Football on Sunday.
While Leonardo suggests Ferguson needs Berbatov, the opening two games of Manchester United’s season suggest otherwise.
Berbatov has come off the bench in both games, replacing Danny Welbeck on both occasions, and it seems Welbeck is now ahead of Berbatov in the pecking order as Ferguson looks to hand the youth players experience.
Tonight’s game with Tottenham Hotspur could signal Berbatov’s role in the team this season.
Javier Hernandez remains sidelined with injury and because Ferguson will have to field Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at centre-back because of injuries to Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, the experience of Berbatov may be used over the youth of Welbeck tonight.
However Ferguson has already praised Welbeck’s start to the season whilst praising the start Wayne Rooney has made to the season.
“It’s interesting to see how he [Rooney] is combining with Welbeck at the moment,” said Ferguson. “Both have done well together.”
Both Berbatov and Welbeck are 6/1 to score first tonight with Rooney available at 4/1.
Berbatov has scored two goals in seven appearances against his former club but the Bulgarian will be eager to prove his worth to the side if he is handed a start tonight.