David Gill reveals details behind 'nightmare' Dimitar Berbatov deal

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Manchester United's former chief executive David Gill has revealed intimate details behind one of the biggest transfer deals he ever pulled off during his time at Old Trafford.

Gill left the club in 2013 alongside Sir Alex Ferguson after a long and fruitful partnership between the two. With Ferguson delivering trophies on the pitch, Gill was busy brokering some of football's biggest commercial deals in the boardroom.

He also played an active role in the transfer market and gave business students at Manchester Grammar School an insight into his attempts to bring Dimitar Berbatov to the club in the summer of 2008.


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The Bulgarian international was flourishing for Tottenham Hotspur, but made it clear that he wanted to swap White Hart Lane for Old Trafford when Gill came calling.

True to form, Tottenham's chairman Daniel Levy made it as hard as possible for Manchester United to get their man with the £30.75milllion deal only going through in the final hours of the transfer window.

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"I spoke to Daniel Levy in June that year, made an offer, and it went on for the whole summer"

A nightmare deal

"I don’t know (why clubs do business so late in the window). It is very difficult," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"With Tottenham, I’m not speaking out of turn, and Daniel Levy, he would like to do that.

"In 2008, when we won the Champions League, we decided that we couldn’t rely on [Carlos] Tevez, [Wayne] Rooney and [Cristiano] Ronaldo to score all the goals so went for another forward and that was [Dimitar] Berbatov. I spoke to Daniel Levy in June that year, made an offer, and it went on for the whole summer.

"It was a nightmare. There was a great picture my wife took of me, on holiday in Florida, on the phone to Daniel Levy, with my foot on a fire hydrant.

"In the end I felt it affected Spurs because we did the deal in the end, at midnight on deadline day, so Tottenham couldn’t get a replacement in.

"The way the deal got done was that Daniel needed a striker and asked about Fraizer Campbell. So Alex had to phone up Fraizer and say 'by the way Fraizer, do me a favour, you’re going to Tottenham now'. And that’s how it happened."

The Legacy

Tottenham were so furious with the way the deal went down that it is believed the relationship between the two clubs is still strained.

Even though Ed Woodward and Louis van Gaal are now in charge, there is a reluctance within Old Trafford to deal with the hard-nosed Levy. His notorious reputation was enough to put Ferguson off of making a move for Luka Modric.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur
Dimitar Berbatov

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