Date published: Thursday 8th October 2020 7:05
Dimitar Berbatov believes Manchester United should have kept Chris Smalling at the club and has criticised Sergio Romero’s handling of his future.
Smalling, 30, sealed a permanent move back to Roma on deadline day for a fee which could top £18m.
The former England man spoke of his “massive relief” after returning to the Italian capital after a brilliant loan spell last season.
United were thought to be looking for another centre-back in the transfer window, but they did not sign one. Instead Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to heavily rely on Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly, at least until January.
Berbatov questioned Smalling’s departure and believes it may well prove to be a mistake.
“The disappointment amongst United fans will be deeper now than it was in recent weeks even,” Berbatov told Betfair. “I see they picked up [Edinson] Cavani and [Alex] Telles, and now the window is closed without signing a centre-back.
“For weeks I said that I think they needed a centre-back, and this is a show from Ole that he trusts the guys he has there already. But I feel like they should have signed someone.
“I wonder if they really should have kept even Chris Smalling, who has had a fabulous time at Roma. But often when you loan a player, it is a sign that they are done anyway.
“I am a huge fan of Cavani however. He brings lots of goals and plenty of experience, and that can only be a benefit. It’s a fair question to ask why maybe United didn’t sign him sooner, but probably they were working at something else that fell through, and he was a brilliant alternative.
“The likes of Ibrahimovic and Henrik Larsson had huge impacts late in their careers at United, and Cavani can do the same. He can be a great help to Martial, Rashford, and Greenwood.
“He is sure to have had a good talk with Ole before signing, and while he won’t have demanded to play every game. Cavani isn’t coming to sit on the bench either. Some will say this is a panic buy, but with the speculation of players that didn’t sign, it’s clear they wanted an attacking player.
“Sancho may not have worked out, so they get Cavani instead, and he can score goals. The really interesting question is how it affects the young boys, and what this means for Ighalo.”
‘Romero is a grown man’
Meanwhile, Romero’s wife has gone public on the anger they feel at the club. The Argentinian was looking to leave Old Trafford after becoming third choice due to Dean Henderson’s return.
Everton were understood to be interested in a loan deal for Romero. However, his wife has claimed United refused to let him leave, much to her disgust.
“I am sad because Sergio deserved the opportunity to go to another club, he has shown what he can do and he worked every day,” said Eliana Guercio.
Former Spurs and United man Berbatov though condemned the public comments.
Berbatov added: “I saw Romero’s wife demand a move away, and unless a wife is a player’s agent. I have always disliked this kind of thing.
“Sergio is a grown man and can speak for himself. I understand as the closest person to him, she will want to stand up for him. But for him, there are better ways to handle this.
“He needs to go and speak to the club himself, and not have his wife to do it. It is difficult for Sergio, he is an excellent keeper but realistically he is third choice at the club now.”