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Man Utd should sign Victor Osimhen over Harry Kane, and why Cristiano Ronaldo deserved more respect during Old Trafford return

The former Manchester United striker has given his opinion on who No.9 the Red Devils should seek this summer as they continue to move on from the Portuguese icon.Information Guide Nigeria

Manchester United were Premier League and European champions when Dimitar Berbatov arrived in 2008. He entered a locker room that included Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Carlos Tevez, to name a few.

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However, after contributing to United’s domination under Sir Alex Ferguson, winning two Premier League titles, two League Cups, and reaching the Champions League final twice, the Bulgarian feels underwhelmed by the team’s performance this season.

Erik ten Hag has won the Carabao Cup, led United to the FA Cup semi-finals, and advanced to the Europa League quarter-finals, where they face Sevilla in the second leg on Thursday following a thrilling 2-2 draw at Old Trafford last week.

The Red Devils are on course to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League again. However, that is far from enough for Berbatov.

“Is it crazy? In my mind United should be fighting for the top spot, like back in the day,” Berbatov, speaking on behalf of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, tells GOAL.

“Obviously times have changed, the power in football has shifted. But for United, this should not be qualified as this big success. They need to fight for the big things again and again.”

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For Berbatov, United’s late capitulation against Sevilla showed how far they still need to come under Ten Hag.

“When I speak with people and tell them stories about my time at United, the word I’m always saying is concentration. Because this is the word that Sir Alex was telling us just right before we go to the pitch, concentrate until the 90-95 minutes.

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“This is sometimes the problem, the lack of concentration when you are leading 2-0 and you think the game is finished. Well, it’s not. It’s not when you play someone like Sevilla.”

Berbatov, who scored 56 goals in 149 appearances for United, has little doubt about what Ten Hag’s side are missing in order to take the next step and return to challenging for the biggest trophies.

“I think they need a centre forward. Someone who can bring goals,” he says. “You buy some centre forward and you say this is the guy who’s bringing 25 goals. They need someone like this. They need to go and look for a class goalscorer.”

United have been missing a strong presence in the box since Ronaldo’s departure. Although he is now fully fit, Anthony Martial has been plagued by injuries this season. Meanwhile, loan signing Wout Weghorst has only scored two goals.

Berbatov becomes passionate when Harry Kane is mentioned as a possible option for United, but he does not believe the England captain, who turns 30 in July, would leave Tottenham.

“You cannot argue with the goalscoring record of Harry Kane. He is one of the best of his generation in how he scores goals, how he plays the game, how he sees the game. And he’s unbelievable,” he says.

“But the one concern I have is that age, he is [almost] 30 so nobody’s getting any younger. And in my mind this is going to be a major concern if someone is going to buy him.

“I think that he’s going to stay at Spurs, because in my mind his legacy is too big for Spurs. He’s [top] goalscorer of all time, he’s [top] goalscorer for England as well. He’s a captain.

“When you say Spurs, the first thing on my mind is Harry Kane. So that legacy, it’s just too big for him to tarnish. If he goes to a different club, I don’t think anybody connected with Spurs will be happy. Everybody will be angry.”

Having counted out Kane, Berbatov volunteers his top choice for United: Victor Osimhen.

The Nigerian has scored 21 Serie A goals this season and spearheaded Napoli’s charge towards a first title since 1990. And he is still 24, with his best years ahead of him.

“It’s so difficult because you need someone who’s going to score goals. Someone who’s going to be the right age so he can develop and get better and better and better. So you have to use him for years to come. In my mind, that is Osimhen,” Berbatov says.

“He’s having an unbelievable season and he’s doing great stuff. So this is the type of player I’d like to see for United.”

Berbatov is quick to point out, though, that signing a quality striker does not guarantee he will fit in at United. This brings us to Ronaldo’s ill-fated return to the club in 2021.

For Berbatov, the Ronaldo affair, which resulted in the Portuguese departing the club in acrimonious circumstances last November, was an example of poor management.

“I don’t think it was a mistake, because in the first season he scored many goals. In my mind, that story was about misunderstanding, miscommunication and not showing enough respect on both sides. When you have someone of the stature of Ronaldo, who is a living legend in football, you need to show them respect,” he says.

“You need to speak with him constantly. If he doesn’t play, you need to tell him and explain why you’re not playing him. He needs to feel special because he is special.

“These types of players, they have earned that status in football, and you need to know that and when you don’t show it then things like this will happen.”

Berbatov is speaking to GOAL two days after United’s 2-0 victory at Nottingham Forest, a game in which Antony finally demonstrated why the club paid £85 million for him and why he is so highly valued by Ten Hag, who worked with him at Ajax.NYSC Portal

“We are all humans, we all want results straight away. But sometimes you need time to adjust to a different league, to a different club, to a different way of playing footbalI,” Berbatov says.

“I would like to see Antony play exactly as he played against Nottingham Forest. And that pass he gave Diogo Dalot, this is football. This is how you should play football, pass the ball on the ground in between the defenders. This was the best moment in that match for me.

“I don’t think he has a lack of confidence. But this should give him even more confidence to go forward and believe in himself, because he’s a great talent. He doesn’t need to do many tricks on the ball, sometimes just keep it simple. Sometimes the simplicity is genius, like that pass.”

Jadon Sancho is another player who is still finding his way at Manchester United. In his two years at Old Trafford, the winger has showed just flashes of the player he was at Borussia Dortmund, and Berbatov is unsure why it isn’t working.

“Why is it not happening? He needs to give the answers too. He’s a talent and he has the dribbling ability, the tricks in the bag, the speed, he can score and pass as well. What is missing? This is something they need to figure out in the training ground. Sancho himself needs to see, to work on what is missing.

“I’d like him to stay because, in my mind, he can produce much, much better. With him [Sancho] on the left and Antony on the right you have speed, you have [Marcus] Rashford, you have Martial, this is a talent pool.”

Berbatov can attest to taking time to gel at a new team. Even though he had two strong seasons at United, it was only in the 2010-11 campaign, his third, when he exploded into life, scoring a hat-trick against Liverpool and five goals against Blackburn. He ended the season as top scorer in the Premier League with 20 goals.

“That’s a great example. Because he’s [Sancho] in his second season and I have my best in my third one. So let’s hope that the third one will be his best one yet,” Berbatov says.

“There is no particular reason. I think some players need a bit more time, others not so much. With some of them it’s not working out, even if you stay for five years. I don’t have the answer. It just happened to me in that period of time. I hope that because we spoke about Sancho that his third season is the lucky one.”JAMB Result

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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