Opinion: Would a move for Dimitar Berbatov be so bad for Newcastle United?

In an interview this week, veteran striker Dimitar Berbatov admitted he'd happily sign for Newcastle United, his boyhood club, if he was given the chance.

However, Rafa Benitez and his men were quick to play down the suggestion of Berbatov arriving on Tyneside. Although, there could be a case made for the 35-year-old being brought in on a short term basis. 

Former glory

Despite being past his best, Berbatov's CV speaks volumes. The Bulgarian striker was fantastic in his days at Manchester United, landing the 2010/11 Premier League Golden Boot. Sir Alex Ferguson knew how to get the best out of the Bulgarian, meaning he may react well to world-class coaches.

He also enjoyed fruitful spells in England with Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.

However, it is his exit from the Cottagers that may cast a doubt over Newcastle signing him. As Fulham were struggling in the Premier League, Berbatov left the club in the January, opting for a more luxurious lifestyle in Monaco. Fulham ended up being relegated that season, meaning Berbatov has no experience playing in the Championship.

Adding cover

If the last two weeks have proved anything about Newcastle's squad, it is that they lack depth in certain areas. Recent injuries to Dwight Gayle and Aleksandar Mitrovic have left Newcastle's attacking options sparse and it is now up to Daryl Murphy to lead the line. 

Berbatov, who was recently playing for PAOK Salonika, would at least add another option for Benitez, if the injuries continue to mount. 

To add to this, since Jonjo Shelvey's absence, Newcastle have looked poor going forward. The lack of creativity would perhaps not be solved by Berbatov alone, but his experience and attacking nous may make it easier for our forward players. 

Drawbacks

As much as Berbatov would offer cover and a different dimension to the current Championship leaders, there are obvious drawbacks that would come with signing the veteran. 

For example, Berbatov's work rate has been criticised in the past and in a league such as the Championship, if one player is not pulling their weight, it can be very detrimental. 

Berbatov has spent the last few years of his career in France and Greece, playing in teams that are near the top of the league. The quality of opposition in these leagues are likely to be of a lesser standard than the teams Newcastle are up against this season.

To add to this, at 35 years of age, is he now too old for English football? It could be argued his last payday would be better at a club that isn't as demanding. 

The Geordie faithful do not take kindly to players not wearing their heart on their sleeve and despite Berbatov supporting Newcastle as a young boy, it is unknown how he would cope in the second tier of English football.

For these reasons, it is clear to see why Benitez is not willing to take a risk on Berbatov. However, there are significantly worse options out there, if Newcastle do decide to invest in a forward before the end of January.

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