Dimitar Berbatov looks certain to discover within the next couple of weeks whether he has any future at Manchester United.
Not only was the 30-year-old Bulgarian left out of Ferguson's Champions League squad at Wembley on Saturday, the man who took his place, Michael Owen, remained on the bench throughout the 90 minutes even when United were desperately in need of a goal to exert some pressure on Barcelona.
"It was a difficult decision," said Ferguson in the aftermath of the chastening 3-1 defeat.
"It was not something I found easy. I wanted to overload my substitutes in the midfield positions because that was the area which most important in terms of the way Barcelona play.
"It came down to a choice between Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov. My view was that if we needed someone to nick a goal in the last few minutes of the game, Michael Owen, with his experience, was the man."
A bit like Juan Sebastian Veron, when Berbatov became Ferguson's last significant purchase in August 2008 the idea was to bring more subtlety to a side basking in their Premier League and Champions League double.
As with Veron, getting Berbatov's obvious talent to fit in with the general pattern of United's quick play has proved exceptionally difficult.
There have been flashes of inspiration and the former Bayer Leverkusen star carried United during the first half of the campaign just ended with Rooney in the doldrums.
However, Ferguson quickly had reservations.
He left Berbatov out of his starting line-up for the 2009 Champions League final against Barcelona in Rome and wasted no time in axing the forward this term once Hernandez started to exhibit his potential on a regular basis.
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