Rome: Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta has revealed that Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has turned down the chance to sign for the Serie A giants and will instead join Fulham.
The Bulgarian forward had been expected to join the Turin club as exclusively revealed by Goal.com after talks over a move to Fiorentina broke down. However, according to Marotta, the 31-year-old has again had a change of heart and elected to link up with former coach Martin Jol at Craven Cottage.
Berbatov played under Jol during the Dutchman`s two-year spell in charge of Tottenham, and the former Bayer Leverkusen man now looks set to re-join the 56-year-old in west London after falling out of favour at Old Trafford.
Marotta said: "We contacted Manchester United about [17.00] when we found out that Berbatov rejected Fiorentina`s offer. We then contacted the player`s agent and he said to us that Berbatov had a offer from his former coach to join Fulham.
"We only approached Manchester United and got close to the player after discovering he had turned down Fiorentina. There was an offer from Fulham, but he wanted to evaluate our proposal too and give a definitive response tonight.
"Berbatov wanted to stay in England because of his family, it`s a life choice not a matter of money. He was in Munich because his wife was born in Munich. Juventus acted with transparency and fairness."
Both Juventus and Fiorentina are expected to turn their attentions to Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, and Marotta has confirmed that the Dane is on the radar of last season`s Serie A champions.
He added: "Bendtner is an available player and we have evaluated him, but we cannot say that we’re about to conclude the deal.
"Fernando Llorente could remain an objective, seeing as his contract expires in 2013. When the rules allow us to make an approach, then we’ll see how it ends. At the moment it is a utopia to think he’ll play for us."
Fiorentina have since released a statement expressing their disgust with Berbatov`s actions, after they believed they were close to completing a deal for his services.
It read: "ACF Fiorentina announce that the transfer for Dimitar Berbatov definitively collapsed after an agreement with Manchester United had been concluded (with shared exchange of contracts, the first instalment paid and the financial guarantees for the second instalment ratified) and after reaching a verbal agreement with the player over his contract.
"During today the English club had allowed their player the written permission to come to Florence for a medical and to sign his contract.
"The player got on the flight with his agent and on tickets paid for by Fiorentina. He never arrived in Florence.
"This was down to outlandish and arrogant behaviour of other clubs, who have nothing to do with fair play and sporting ethics that go even beyond the confines of fairness.
"As for the player, apart from his characteristics and his value on the field, at this stage we are happy he didn`t come to Fiorentina. He did not deserve our city, to wear our jersey or the values that represent it."