By Marcus ChhanFollow @@MarcusChhan
The Turkish giants are not the first to express an interest in the striker who cost United a reported £30.75million in September 2008. French Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain are also known to be keen admirers and the clock on his future at Old Trafford is certainly ticking, his current deal expires at the end of the season.
With the winter transfer window approaching, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has to decide very quickly whether he wants to keep the Bulgarian around.
When he arrived at Old Trafford a little more than three seasons ago, there was hope he would be the ‘new Cantona', a player with bags of ability and the persona to match.
For all his classy touches and moments of magic we have seen, it is fair to say Berbatov has failed to live up to even his own expectations of what his United career should have been.
In his first season under Ferguson, United won the Barclays Premier League title and reached the UEFA Champions League final but his contribution was not brilliant, with just 14 goals.
"In my first year I was disappointed in myself. I need to say that," Berbatov told a British newspaper early into his second season at the club.
"It was a big pressure for me and maybe I failed myself. I think I wanted to prove myself to these supporters.
"You must remember, they are used to Best, Charlton, Cantona. I am just Dimitar.
"I got a number of assists, but I must score more goals."
His second season was even more frustrating. Ferguson opted to use Wayne Rooney as the focal point of his attack and Berbatov only managed 12 goals that term.
In the 2010/11 season, Berbatov scored 20 league goals as Manchester United claimed a record 19th league title - he finished joint top with Manchester City's Carlos Tevez in the running for the Golden Boot award.
|Birthdate||30 January 1981 |
|Joined United ||1 September 2008 |
|United debut||13 September 2008 |
vs Liverpool (A)
A much better return from the Bulgarian but his harshest critics will point out that the bulk of his goals came in pockets and were not spread out over the season.
It seems as though Berbatov will forever be a figure of underachievement, even if he scores five-goals against Blackburn Rovers, even after an unforgettable overhead kick en route to a hat-trick against Liverpool. Not to mention vital late winners against Blackpool and Bolton.
This is because Berbatov's problem is not a question of whether he is good enough to play for Manchester United; you would be hard pressed to find a more technically gifted player in the Barclays Premier League at the moment.
The real source of frustration and consternation amongst the United faithful is that the languid forward's on-the-ball play almost always slows the team's momentum down at the wrong moments and on the wrong parts of the pitch.
The fact that he is expendable is something Ferguson has all but admitted to by opting to no longer use the striker in the big games against high caliber opposition - including dropping him from the United squad which faced mighty Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final at the end of last season.
Interestingly, Berbatov has not scored against a team United would call rivals (Liverpool were not competitive for the title last season) since netting in the 3-0 win against Chelsea in January 2009.
One of the reasons for this has been the remarkable emergence of Javier Hernandez as a reliable partner for Wayne Rooney up top. The Mexican striker is a polar opposite to Berbatov, and enjoys playing off the last defender - he has yet to score for United from outside the box - and has already racked up 24 goals in just over a season at Old Trafford.
Team-mate Danny Welbeck's good start to the current campaign has pushed Berbatov further down the pecking order. The Bulgarian was last seen starting for United in games against mighty Aldershot and Otelul Galati.
An offer Fergie can't refuse?
Considering Berbatov's age along with the expected emergence of youngster like Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf coming up the ranks, Ferguson should be tempted to sell should an attractive bid come in.
United worked out that last summer that Berbatov's value was around £15million which would make his value around half of that come the January transfer window.
Despite his diminishing role at Manchester United, there will be plenty of suitors interested in Berbatov's signature (bigger clubs than PSG or Galatasaray).
After all, we are still talking about the Barclays Premier League's joint-top scorer from last season.
Would Ferguson really turn down an inflated bid for a player who, let's face it, is at best his third choice striker (fourth best if you rate Michael Owen higher)
Actually, he might.
An ace up his sleeve
We were reminded this weekend that Sir Alex Ferguson has been in charge of Manchester United for 25 years. Endless tributes and stories about what made this man one of the greatest managers of all time were rammed down our throats. But it was all justified.
This is a manager who has overseen the construction of five or six United sides during his time and the trophies have kept coming regardless of whether the team's lynchpin was Cantona or Rooney.
Selling Berbatov at an inflated price would be the conventional way to go but perhaps Ferguson has a shrewder plan in place.
The Scot is also known for advancing his profession in England's top flight by introducing the idea of a squad rotation system which is where Berbatov firmly figures for the club at present.
If Berbatov were to go, it would leave United short of strikers with real Champions League experience and for that reason alone Ferguson may decide to let the Bulgarian's contract run until the end of the season before deciding whether to offer the striker a new deal.
By all accounts, the canny coach continues to have a good relationship with Berbatov while the player himself only a week ago spoke of his love and his family's love of life in Manchester.
Whatever the case, the United manager knows he has a major decision to make on the 30-yeard-old - and at the end of the day it will boil down to two simple things: Should Berba stay or go?
The wise move would be let him go but second guessing someone as experienced and as crafty as Ferguson can be a dangerous thing to do.