Manchester United | Berbatov replacement targets

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Dimitar Berbatov is Manchester United's greatest enigma. When the Bulgarian striker arrived at Old Trafford in a record-breaking £30.75million deal from Tottenham back in 2008, fans' excitement looked to have reached fever pitch.

The 31-year-old has by no means been a failure during his four years with the reigning Premier League champions - he boasts a conversion ratio better than a goal every three games - and the fact that he was 2010-11 joint-top goalscorer with 22 league goals, proves that when selected, he can deliver.

However, Berbatov has been forced to settle for a bit-part role on the periphery of Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team over the past 12 months. His well-documented omission from the match day squad in last season's Champions League final against Barcelona planted the first real seeds of doubt about his long-term United future.

Berbatov admitted he was 'ashamed' after missing out on the Wembley defeat, amid rumours he would leave the club before the start of the current campaign, but the former Spurs striker insisted he would see out the remainder of his contract, which was recently extended to the summer of 2013.

The emergence of Javier Hernandez, and with Danny Welbeck now staking a case for regular football, Berbatov now finds himself fourth-choice striker behind United's leading light Wayne Rooney, who completes the favoured three.

Berbatov has played in just 19 games for United this season, and has scored nine goals including a hat-trick against Wigan on Boxing Day. But, only last week Ferguson admitted Berbatov's future may lie elsewhere, and now his representative, Emil Danchev, has confirmed that the 70-year-old Scot will not stand in the way of any deal come the end of the current campaign.

With Berbatov bound for the Old Trafford exit, GiveMeFootball considers three players Manchester United should consider signing to replace the Bulgarian hitman this summer....

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
Age: 23
Nationality: Dutch
Current club: Sporting Lisbon

With 17 goals in 35 appearances since signing for Sporting Lisbon in a £5million deal from FC Utrecht last summer, Van Wolfswinkel has already proven an astute signing for the Portuguese outfit.

The 23-year-old striker has also made his mark in the Europa League, scoring against Manchester City in last week's 3-2 defeat at the Etihad Stadium, which secured Sporting's place in the next round.

After plying his trade in the Dutch Eredivisie during the early stages of his career, Van Wolfswinkel has shown plenty of ambition to test himself in another country, and has intimated his desire to one day play in the Premier League.

His new valuation of around £12million would be well within Manchester United's transfer budget, and his ability to also play as an attacking midfielder could prove an attractive proposition for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Age: 28
Nationality: Dutch
Current club: Schalke

The former Real Madrid and AC Milan striker has scored 38 goals in 37 appearances for Schalke in all competitions this campaign, including a hat-trick in last Thursday's Europa League victory over FC Twente.

Huntelaar has attracted interest from several top European clubs as a result of his fine form, and further added to his growing reputation in England when he scored for Holland in their 3-2 friendly victory over the Three Lions at Wembley last month.

Manchester United were linked with a move for the 28-year-old during the January transfer window, with Berbatov rumoured to be heading in the opposite direction, only for the Bundesliga outfit to wave away suggestions.

Schalke are determined to convince Huntelaar to sign a new deal, and are prepared to break the bank by making him the club's highest-ever paid player if he commits his future beyond 2013.

James Rodriguez
Age: 20
Nationality: Colombian
Current club: Porto

The Colombian international has confirmed his billing as one of South America's hottest prospects after becoming a key member of Vitor Pereira's squad at Estadio do Dragao.

Another foreign player currently plying his trade in Portugal, Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder-come-forward who is currently the reigning Primeira Liga champions' top goalscorer this campaign with 11 goals, and is the second highest provider of assists.

Manchester United have been linked with a summer move for the 20-year-old winger, who has already suggested the opportunity to move to Old Trafford would be too good an offer for him to turn down.

Have your say - who do you think Manchester United should be signing this summer as a replacement for Dimitar Berbatov? Leave a comment below.

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Dimitar Berbatov
Premier League
Manchester United

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