MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 12: Dimitar Berbatov attends Manchester United 'United for UNICEF' - Gala Dinner at Old Trafford on December 12, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Cox/Getty Images)
The biggest transfer rumor making the rounds in regards to Manchester United is that Dimitar Berbatov has been linked with a move to Germany -- either with Bayern Munich or his former club Bayer Leverkusen. In addition, rich Russian side Anzi Makhachkala is thought to be interested in the services of the Bulgarian striker as well. According to this report by Sky Sports, Berbatov was spotted on Sunday taking a flight to Frankfurt, Germany where it is expected that he is to hold talks with Leverkusen. The 30-year-old's contract with United expires this summer and thus, he is free to hold talks with these clubs from abroad. However, in late December, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson indicated that the club would exercise their option to extend Berbatov's contract by a year -- that option is believed to occur in March. This doesn't necessarily indicate that United has the striker in their future plans, but it does provide them leverage in negotiations over any possible transfer fee.
Despite currently being the fourth striker option behind Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, and Javier Hernandez (Chicharito), Berbatov showed that he still has the goalscoring touch when he recently bagged 6 goals in a 3 league match span in late December. It was just last season when he won the Golden Boot as the co-leading goalscorer in the Premier League -- however, he was benched for most of the run-in in favor of Chicharito.
Berbatov made the move to Old Trafford in 2008 from Tottenham Hotspur for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of £30 million. Despite scoring 21 goals last season for United, the striker has never quite reached the heights that were expected of him after his expensive transfer. Nonetheless, there is no denying his quality and it has always been a matter of Berba simply being a relatively poor fit at the club. He certainly is deserving of regular playing time somewhere and a move abroad may be in his best interests. It's unlikely United could secure a high transfer fee for the 30-year-old but any funds may be welcome due to the speculation that the club has little in the bank at the moment for incoming transfers.
In other transfer news, striker Joshua King has joined Hull City on loan until the end of June. The 20-year-old had been with Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach on loan this season but that agreement has been scrapped after King only appeared in two matches. Here is what Reserves coach Warren Joyce had to say about the youngster's new loan move:
"Joshua's going out on loan again as he struggled to make an impact out there in Germany and that's the way it can be sometimes. You can still learn from bad experiences."
In addition, it appears that Mame Biram Diouf may potentially be set for a loan move to TSG Hoffenheim with the possibility of it being permanent. The 24-year-old has previously spent time on loan to Molde and Blackburn Rovers and there certainly are many who wonder if the attacker has the quality to make it at United. At the moment, a permanent move to another club appears to be in his best interest -- certainly a loan would be beneficial at least as Diouf has struggled to find regular time at United as a fringe first-team player.