Berbatov, who turns 31 at the end of January, was supposedly spotted on a plane to Germany with his agent on Sunday, amid rumours he is set for talks with his old club, Bayern Leverkusen as well as Bayern Munich. The latter see Berbatov as a replacement for their Croatian striker, Ivica Olic, who will depart in the summer, while the former, the club which introduced him to England by selling him to Tottenham for £10.9 million in 2006, have been known to want to see a return of their former player.
In the past, Berbatov has seen a lack of first team action at Manchester United as a challenge for him to earn a place, but with his career as a footballer running out, first team action is crucial, and as he currently sits behind Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez in the pecking order, a new club looks easier than challenging those three favourites. He has always expressed his desire to stay with Manchester United, citing his dream to play for a club as big as it, but after four seasons, he may now accept his time is up.
His contract expires in June, and Sir Alex Ferguson claimed in December that United would be extending his contract for another year, saying: "We'll be exercising [the option to renew Berbatov's contract]. I think it kicks in in March." This decision may have since changed, or perhaps United will renew his contract in order to receive a higher transfer fee through a sale in the summer.
United will get nowhere near the £30.75 million they paid for him in 2008 - that was anticipated when he joined - but rather something around £5-10 million would be expected by selling him in January, and even that is a tad optimistic considering how long his current contract has remaining. He is permitted to talk to other clubs about signing for them in the summer, as United have not yet invoked the option to extend his contract, so that is likely to be being discussed in Germany at the moment too.
A departure this month or the summer; both look like increasingly possibilities for a striker who was United's top scorer and the Premier League's joint top scorer, only last season. His total of 55 goals for Ferguson's side in 144 appearances is quite impressive for a man often criticized for laziness and negligence. He has graced Old Trafford with a number of technically majestic skills and an elevated footballing brain which has often made the opposition look rather stupid, but it seems he was never quite the perfect fit for Manchester United.