TRANSFER DEADLINE PREVIEW: Manchester United’s Berbatov heading back to Germany?

Blackburn Rovers' Christopher Samba (left) and Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov.
Blackburn Rovers' Christopher Samba (left) and Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov.
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Dimitar Berbatov could return to Bayer Leverkusen when the Bundesliga’s transfer window opens, with his agent admitting there has been contact between Leverkusen and Manchester United.

Berbatov’s representative, Ivan Dobrinov, also told German tabloid Bild: “It’s more than a rumuor. Leverkusen have it on their minds to get Berbatov. There is contact, but nothing concrete yet. It all depends on United’s plans.”

The 30-year-old striker has failed to cement a place in Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up this season, but the Bulgarian did manage to bag a hat trick on his return to the team against Wolves on Boxing Day. Berbatov spent six years with Leverkusen before leaving for Tottenham in 2006.

Elsewhere in the German topflight, rumours of Marco Reus’ move to league leaders Bayern Munich, from Borussia Monchengladbach, haven’t been looked upon favourably by Bayern’s current midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Reus’ manager Lucien Favre has revealed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been in contact with Monchengladbach regarding the 22-year-old and Schweinsteiger believes North London would be a better destination for the sought-after attacker. Schweinsteiger told TZ newspaper: “I don’t think now is the right time for him to come to Munich. We already have very good players for his position.”

The 27-year-old added that he would prefer the club to bring in highly-rated Borussia Dortmund-starlet Mario Gotze, who has also been linked with a move to the Premier League and La Liga. But Gotze has stated he’s happy to continue to play for the German champions, admitting he believes he’s still got lots to learn at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.

Dortmund also face the possibility of letting striker Lucas Barrios leave the club. The Paraguayan suffered an injury playing for his country at last summer’s Copa America and has since failed to regain his place in Jurgen Klopp’s side. Barrios has been told the club “won’t stand in his way” if he wanted to leave and it’s been reported that Chelsea, among others, might be interested in securing his services.

Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal could make a move for FC Koln’s Lukas Podolski but the ‘Prinz’, who has been in scintillating form in the Bundesliga this season, has also been linked with a move to Liverpool as the man to replace the banned Luis Suarez. Podolski has scored 14 goals this season for Koln already and the majority of German tabloids don’t think he’ll be back after the winter break to add to that tally.

In other news, Werder Bremen could be closing in on Austria Wein’s Zlatko Junuzovic - a midfielder who has been likened to Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil- and Aly Cissokho has been granted permission to leave Lyon, opening the door for a move to Dortmund.

There has already been a deal secured, however, with Hoffenheim’s Nigerian striker Chinedu Obasi set to play the second half of the Bundesliga season for FC Schalke 04.

Obasi will initially join the Royal Blues on loan until the end of the season but he could make the move permanent in the summer. The 25-year-old will join up with new boss Huub Stevens and his teammates for the side’s eight-day training camp in Qatar starting on January 4th.

In Holland’s Eredivisie, there are a number of rumours linking Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen with a move away from the club. The 24-year-old Belgian is said to interest Newcastle, Manchester City and Arsenal, with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp also keen to bring the defender to England.

Ajax should be kept busy in the transfer window as the club aim to fend off interest in their Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen. The 19-year-old, dubbed the ‘new Michael Laudrup’, has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United. But Ajax aren’t just dealing with rumours of players leaving; they’re also linked with a move to bring Inter Milan’s Cristian Chivu back the club – despite interest from Real Madrid.

Elsewhere in the Dutch top-flight, PSV Eindhoven’s sporting director Marcel Brands says he hopes the club will hang on to Erik Pieters and Dries Mertens.

Newcastle, along with Everton, are reportedly interested in bringing Pieters to England, whereas, Belgian star Mertens has been linked with Manchester United.

Brands told reporters: “We are not looking to sell any players at all. We are in the race for the title. We are in second place with one game in the Eredivisie and one game in the Europa League to go. I don’t expect something to happen to our squad in January.”

Goal.com’s Stefan Coerts also expects moves for Wilfried Bony of Vitesse, Brett Holman and Simon Poulsen of league leaders AZ and Groningen’s 23-year-old winger Dusan Tadic.

Possible Transfers

GERMANY

Dimitar Berbatov – Manchester United to Bayer Leverkusen; Aly Cissokho – Lyon to Borussia Dortmund; Papiss Demba Cisse – Freiburg to Bayern Munich; Mario Gotze – from Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal/Barcelona/Bayern Munich/Manchester City/Manchester United/Real Madrid; Zlatko Junuzovic – Austria Wein to Weder Bremen; Lukas Podolski – FC Koln to Arsenal/Liverpool; Marco Reus – Borussia Monchengladbach to Bayern Munich.

HOLLAND

Wilfred Bony – Vitesse to Bayern Munich/Chelsea/CSKA Moscow; Cristian Chivu – Inter Milan to Ajax; Christian Eriksen – Ajax to Manchester United; Brett Holman – AZ to Borussia Monchengladbach; Dries Mertens – PSV to Manchester United; Erik Pieters – PSV to Everton/Newcastle; Simon Poulsen – AZ to Aston Villa/Borussia Monchengladbach; Dusan Tadic – Groningen to Bayern Munich/FC Twente; Jan Vertonghen – Ajax to Arsenal/Manchester City/Newcastle.

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