Football 1 year ago

He's a superstar: Santa keen on Berbatov

  • He's a superstar: Santa keen on Berbatov

    MONACO - APRIL 22: Dimatar Berbatov of Monaco in action during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between AS Monaco FC and Juventus at Stade Louis II on April 22, 2015 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Brendon Santalab has already blotted his seal of approval on any potential Western Sydney bid for Dimitar Berbatov, saying he'd jump at the chance to play with the former Manchester United striker.

Berbatov is the latest prospective marquee linked to the Wanderers as the A-League club attempt to solve what, before last weekend's 4-1 rout of Central Coast, appeared to be a goal drought.

With the apparently imminent capture of Robbie Keane looking more unlikely by the day, coach Tony Popovic's hunt for a striker continues as he aims to bolster his squad before the Asian Champions League starts in February.

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The urgent need for a reliable scorer was highlighted by Popovic's decision to start 19-year-old Lachlan Scott against the Mariners instead of Kerem Bulut, who's yet to score and was again left out of the match-day squad.

Santalab has scored five goals this season but is used mostly as a substitute.

And while the club declined to comment on reports they'd been alerted to free-agent Berbatov's availability, Santalab believed the 35-year-old Bulgarian would make an ideal addition.

"Yeah, definitely. He's a superstar, isn't he," Santalab said.

"The names being thrown about are quite special, and to play up front with the couple that have been mentioned would be incredible and only strengthen our squad.

"With the ACL coming up it's an exciting time for us so we'll see who Popa brings in, if anybody comes in January."

The main concern around Berbatov might be his fitness given the former Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen mainstay hasn't played since leaving Greek outfit PAOK at the end of June.

Meanwhile, Keane's strong work ethic and record 68 goals for Ireland make the departing LA Galaxy star a highly attractive proposition for Popovic.

However, the 36-year-old's wage demands, which have already ruled Brisbane out of the race for his signature, appear too high for the Wanderers.

Western Sydney will host Melbourne Victory at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, a day after Sydney FC and Melbourne City play at the same venue.

A win would not only be sweet revenge after Victory downed the Wanderers 3-0 in round six, but also a chance to crack the top four.

"(Third-placed) Victory are where we want to be," Santalab said.

"For us it's a big game, especially at home - we haven't won at home yet and we need to get that monkey off our back and keep moving forward."

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