Dimitar Berbatov could hold the key to Manchester United’s hopes of landing top target Luka Modric.
But the Bulgarian striker insists he will fight for his Old Trafford future.
Despite increased speculation that Berbatov will be shown the exit door at United this summer, he says he is going nowhere.
“I will remain at United,” said the £30.75m hitman. “I will fight for my place and I will fight for title number 20.
“If I was a man who gave up easily, I would never be here in the first place. Starting July 4, everything begins all over again – my personal fight to be in the first team, and for United to win more titles.”
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is a huge admirer of Berbatov and is desperately in search of firepower as he bids to bring Champions League football back to White Hart Lane next season.
That could see the Premier League’s joint Golden Boot-winner used as a bargaining chip by Sir Alex Ferguson when it comes to signing £25m-rated Modric.
He believes the Croatian international can fill the gap left by Paul Scholes’ retirement. But he knows Redknapp is reluctant to sell his best players, even after failing to secure a top-four finish this season.
Berbatov would prove an ideal sweetener for the deal, with Redknapp hunting for a top-class striker since January. Berbatov was omitted from United’s squad for last Saturday’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, with Michael Owen named on the bench ahead of him.
And on Wednesday his future at the Premier League champions looked even more bleak as Owen was handed a new one-deal.
“It was embarrassing for me that I was not included in the group,” said Berbatov, back home in Bulgaria. “I was in the dressing room. I watched the final from there. I didn’t want people to see the pain in my eyes.”
With Danny Welbeck due to return from a loan spell with Sunderland and Ferguson also monitoring strikers Karim Benzema and Hulk, it looks increasingly apparent that this will be Berbatov’s final season at the club.
Newcastle, Bayern Munich, Roma and Juventus have all been linked with him in recent months.
Bids in excess of £7.5m could be enough to prompt United to cash in – but they would also be tempted by a part-exchange deal for Modric.
Ferguson is also targeting Ashley Young, Wesley Sneijder and Jack Rodwell as he prepares for a summer of major spending.
As well as Berbatov, he will be aware that Redknapp is also an admirer of midfielder Michael Carrick, who was given his chance at West Ham by the Tottenham manager.