A source close to David Gill, the United chief executive, told The Times last night that there was "no appetite for a deal this summer", with Tottenham unwilling to sell now, but a move for Berbatov could be made in January or, more likely, at the end of the season.

United are understood to have inquired about the possibility of signing Berbatov recently, but contrary to some reports, the Barclays Premier League champions, who have spent a projected £68 million on players so far this summer, did not make an official bid for the forward.