During his seven appearances in a Fulham shirt, Dimitar Berbatov has been responsible for eight goals; scoring five himself and assisting three others.
His performances have left fans and pundits purring and it’s no exaggeration that Martin Jol arguably pulled off the signing of the season when he brought the Bulgarian in on transfer deadline day.
He’s a player that Jol knows well from their time together at Tottenham Hotspur and our Manager is clearly delighted to have the mercurial striker at his disposal once again.
“He’s a pretty nice guy to have around,” Jol admitted. “Most of the time he’s smiling, because he just loves football. He’s not like a kid, but he’s like a junior player who loves playing football. He loves training, he loves finishing, he loves taking penalties.
“On Friday he wanted to show me that his last penalty [against Arsenal] was not a coincidence. Last week I said to him that there was no player in England who could wait for the ‘keeper and that is what he did in front of 60,000 people.”
Berbatov has occupied a couple of different positions on the pitch for Fulham and Jol admits that he’s happy to tinker depending on which side he puts out.
“He can play as a real number nine but it depends on what I do,” he explained. “If I play Petrić, Berbatov will be a number 10 but if I don’t he will be the number nine.
“Berbatov wants to play and float around and for me that’s not a problem. I know him – he had quite a good game against Wigan Athletic in the number 10 role, and he can play up front as well. I think he is the complete player.”
Jol has previously described Dimitar as Fulham’s biggest signing of all time and, while some critics questioned why the striker didn’t join a more high profile club, our Manager believes the Whites are a more than desirable option for players.
“I’ve got Mahamadou Diarra, I’ve got Mark Schwarzer, I’ve got Mladen Petrić and Damien Duff, to name just a few,” he said. “There are a few nice names here. So that is what I said to him; that I am here so why shouldn’t he be here as well?
“I think the Manchester United game when we lost 5-0 [last season] probably put him off a bit! So I thought he would never come because he saw us play and it was not great. Then he saw us when we lost to United 3-2 [in August] and we looked a different team in the second half so probably that changed his mind as well.
“On deadline day he was at the airport flying to Italy so I thought that the transfer hadn’t come off. His manager phoned me and told me to give Dimitar a phone call because he’s waiting for the plane to go to Italy. Straight after the phone call he changed his mind and came back.”
And Fulham fans everywhere are extremely grateful that our Manager did indeed make that call.