According to the Sunday Express, Bournemouth are giving the prospect of signing Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov some serious consideration ahead of a first season in the Premier League.
The Championship champions are widely expected to be relegated having hit the highest echelon in English football for the first time in their existence, but recruiting such a player may well prove the decisive as they bid to survive.
Former Tottenham and Manchester United favourite Berbatov is currently plying his trade in Monaco, scoring seven goals in 18 Ligue 1 starts so far.
A healthy contribution from a team hardly renown for their goalscoring exploits; Les Rouges et Blancs have bagged just 47 top-tier strikes thus far and ‘Berba’ boasts the third-highest tally in their ranks.
Despite being 34, the languorous Bulgarian is still possession of the technical mastery that once prompted Man Utd to pay over £30m for his services, as his first-leg performance in Monaco’s recent Champions League win at Arsenal will attest.
Out of contract in the summer, Berbatov wouldn’t cost a dime in transfer fees, but it’s not only mercurial ability and cost effectiveness that make him a fantastic potential acquisition.
In recruiting a veteran with mounds of experience at the highest level, Bournemouth would be replicating the blueprint Leicester followed when making the eyebrow-arching signing of Esteban Cambiasso during the previous pre-season.
The Argentine arrived at the King Power Stadium on a free transfer from Inter Milan, with several speculating such a move was viewed as one final payday for the Champions League-winning superstar.
Such estimations couldn’t have been more wrong, with Cambiasso’s all-action midfield showings winning him plaudits all season long.
He has featured in 29 of the Foxes 36 games to date and has been a pivotal figure in their heaving themselves to the cusp of survival.
Three points divides on-song Leicester from 18th spot after they won a sixth game in seven against Southampton last time out, giving them an excellent chance of beating the drop.
In doing so, they would become the only outfit promoted in the previous season to remain afloat, with Burnley already relegated and QPR all but certain to follow, unless they usurp enormous odds of 12/1 to win at Manchester City.
The Clarets didn’t dabble in the art of veteran recruitment last summer and were the first to be relegated, while QPR drafted in Rio Ferdinand under a haze of well-documented doubt about his ability and motivation.
Such negativity, plus a bout of injuries have restricted the former Red Devils stopper to just 11 starts this campaign.
Had the R’s relied on Ferdinand a little more, his experience may well have made a difference, especially in those pre-Christmas away matches that the club habitually lost and are subsequently paying the price for now.
Bournemouth must learn from these examples if they wish to survive, which makes Berbatov a great signing for them.