BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed he would be happy for Dimitar Berbatov to stay at Manchester United but accepts why the Bulgarian wants to leave.
United's record signing has cut a lonely figure since being left out of the squad for the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in 2010.
Berbatov was further squeezed out last term thanks to the emergence of Danny Welbeck, in addition to the presence of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.
Berbatov took to his Facebook site earlier this week to question how he was still at Old Trafford when it was obvious he had no future.
And, after the £30.75million man featured in an advanced midfield role in Wednesday night's 1-0 win over AmaZulu in Durban, Ferguson explained his mixed feelings over Berbatov.
"I do not need to herald the abilities of Dimitar Berbatov, he is a fantastic talent," said Ferguson.
"Last season he didn't quite get the amount of football he wants. At his age, it was difficult for him to accept his position in the forward line.
"He had Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez in front of him, and they are all young men.
"The boy has a future, but if he wants to leave it is a different matter.
"I am easy about it if he stays. I would be happy with that
"But if someone comes in and Dimitar wants to leave, we will assess it."
Berbatov has been linked with AC Milan , who have just sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic to PSG and also a possible move to Turkey.
It does appear certain that at some point prior to the August transfer deadline, he will end an ultimately unfulfilling four-year stint with the club.
He did at least have the satisfaction of setting up the only goal for Federico Macheda in an unconvincing victory.
Ferguson introduced £17million new boy Shinji Kagawa for the final couple of minutes, although he should have more meaningful involvement in Saturday's encounter with Ajax Cape Town.
Ferguson has already stated that the number one priority for him this season is to reclaim the Barclays Premier League title from Manchester City .
And he is expecting Paul Scholes to play a big role, even though he will celebrate his 38th birthday in November.
"He showed when he came back in January that he has not lost any ability," said Ferguson.
"It is not easy after being out for seven or eight months, although I felt he should never have gone away anyway.
"It was a good decision to come back and he can contribute in a big way for us.
"He will be 38 in November and like any player of that age we know that his legs will go eventually.
"But, as we have seen so often, there is no one else in England who can dictate the pace, rhythm and tempo of a game and control that midfield area the way he does."