Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov could be used as part of a deal to secure Luka Modric from Tottenham this summer, according to Goal.com.
The unsettled Bulgarian is expected to have his contract extended for another year in the coming days, due to a clause that allows United the one-way option to do so.
It is widely believed, however, that the extension of Berbatov's contract is merely to ensure United receive a fee for the 31-year-old this summer.
But now a story has resurfaced, which first appeared last summer, that United will try to lure Modric away from Tottenham by including Berbatov in the deal.
Berbatov joined United from Spurs, after a much-protracted transfer, in August 2008 for £30.75 million.
Even if Berbatov is included in any negotiations, it would still take some serious money to persuade Tottenham to sell their star playmaker.
Last summer Spurs chairman Daniel Levy stubbornly refused to sell Modric to Chelsea, despite the player expressing his desire to leave. Several bids were rejected, the highest of which was for £40 million, according to the Independent.
Another factor to consider when evaluating this rumor is whether United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would choose to invest so heavily in Modric. Tom Cleverley is highly-rated at Old Trafford and his development was seen as a key factor why major money was not spent on a creative midfielder last season.
While United are undoubtedly lacking in the center of midfield, it could be that the player they need most in that area is someone to break-up attacks, rather than initiate them. With Darren Fletcher's future uncertain, there is really no one of proven quality on United's roster that offers energy and combativeness in the middle of the field.
It does seem increasingly likely, though, that Berbatov will be waving goodbye to Old Trafford come the summer.
The Premier league's top scorer last season, Berbatov is now fourth-choice striker at United, following the emergence of Danny Welbeck this season.
Just this weekend Berbatov's agent Emil Danchev confirmed that his client would likely be moving on.
I had three meetings with [United manager Sir] Alex Ferguson, he told Bulgarian media, according to the Guardian. We should accept that he'll try to build a team for the next three or four years and Berbatov will not be part of this team.
Ferguson wants to change the playing style, to implement more speed. I was pleased with United's position as they said they'll not oppose Berbatov's move in the summer.