Manchester United vs Tottenham & Chelsea – The Truth About Ballack, Berbatov and Zokora

The media (telegraph, daily mail, independent – all the regular trash) have had a lot of fun printing stories about both Berbatov and Zokora saying ‘NO’ to Manchester United. It’s a cute tactic that has endeared the two players to the Spurs fans and has allowed everyone else to put down United while playing up Tottenham’s ‘rise’.

Add to this a revisiting of Ballack’s snub to United and everyone is having a nice lil’ laugh at United’s expense.

In the case of the two Tottenham players, the insinuation, of course, is that both Tottenham and Manchester United had been competing for the signatures of Berbatov and Zokora, and in both cases the players chose the Spurs over the Red Devils.

That, dear readers, is pure BS.

Time for some facts. Let’s look at Dimitir Berbatov‘s statements first:

“What can I say? Spurs stood by me the whole time and sometimes that’s more important,” Berbatov said, reclining in one of the stadium’s executive boxes. “As a matter of fact I spoke with one of the management of Manchester United. They had a problem with Van Nistelrooy. I could not wait so long, so I decided to come here.”

“When I only had six goals in the Bundesliga last season they said we like you and we want to be buy you. But Leverkusen said, ‘No, we don’t want you to go’. Over a period of six months Tottenham kept saying, ‘We like you, we want you to come here’. They were always in contact with the club. Then I scored 21 goals and they settled on a price. It was a long-standing interest. They could have bought anyone but they decided on me. I appreciated that.”

Tottenham got their man because United never bid for him and never showed a serious interest.

Our interest was more speculative – Tottenham on the other hand were ready to splash 10 mil or so, and had been after him for months. But don’t let that get in the way of pandering to the fans.

Didier Zokora had a similar situation – while Tottenham had been courting him for months, Arsenal and Manchester United had only looked at him during the World Cup. Both clubs inquired about the midfielder, and that’s as far as it went. I seriously, seriously doubt that United would have bought Zokora – just like they never bought Petit (who was similarly inquired about then left alone). But Zokora played it up with the fans by telling them how he turned down bigger clubs to come to them.

Bigger clubs who would have left him on the bench and weren’t too keen on signing him.

Do you really think that Zokora would start ahead of Fabregas and Silva? Ahead of Carrick and Scholes? Didn’t think so.

The last man – Chelsea’s Ballack, hasn’t talked much about this and for that I commend him. Having said that, United’s attempt to sign him must be brought to light to present a clear picture.

Manchester United moved to secure Ballack back in January / February, when it became clear that he would not sign a new contract at Bayern and would be leaving as a free agent in summer. Chelsea had moved for him at the same time though, and at that time it came down to two things – who was the stronger team, and who had more money to pay him.

“Manchester United were one of the first clubs to try and sign me but, in the end, I didn’t feel they wanted me as much as Chelsea.”

Despite my strong belief that money and current Premiership status (not to mention European strength) was Ballack’s primary motivations, the accusation that United didn’t want him as much hurts because we’ve heard that from several players now, and it is partially true – we don’t have the financial resources to commit to big-name players like Ballack, who would have been come without a second thought three years ago.

A note to Tottenham fans – I’m really happy to see your club perform so well in the last season, and I’m a big fan of your coach as well as many of your players. But if you believe the trash your new signings are telling you, you’ll believe anything.

But wait – you guys already believe that you’ll finish in the top four, don’t you?

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