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Brilliant Berbatov Not Long for North London

At a cost of just over $20 million, Dimitar Berbatov may have already proven to be best buy in Europe this season. The Guardian's Rob Smyth writes a glowing panegyric to Tottenham's lanky Bulgarian striker, who punctuated a magnificent first season this past week with man-of-the-match performances against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and Braga in the UEFA Cup on Wednesday.

Berbatov hasn't merely scored seven goals in seven games (and 19 in 33 starts); he's scored brilliant goals, Thierry Henry-like goals, while playing a crucial hand in several others for Spurs. Against Braga, Berbatov bagged the game's first two goals-one a deft flick into the far corner with the outside of the right foot, the other a fiercely dispatched volley into the roof of the net-before slicing open its defense with a pass that set up Steed Malbranque for Tottenham's tie-winning goal.

Smyth says that performance was a microcosm of what Berbatov is all about: he's a deadly two-footed finisher blessed with the skills and the sensibility of a playmaker, who's both quick on the ball and good in the air. Indeed, foot speed may be the only attribute he lacks. Smyth likens him to Arsenal's Henry at his peak, proclaiming: "Right here, right now [Berbatov] is the Premiership's best player." The 26 year-old Bulgarian is certainly at the height of his powers, and he still has several years left in him. One wonders how long Tottenham will be able to keep him?

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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