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Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov has emerged as a surprise transfer target for Spanish giants Barcelona, according to the Express.

Reports in Spain suggest the Catalan club are looking for short-term cover for the injured Lionel Messi, and Berbatov is on their list.

While manager Gerardo Martino is confident in the abilities of Neymar and Alexis Sanchez – who scored a brace against England in Chile’s 2-0 win at Wembley last Friday – he remains keen on adding experienced back-up to his squad.

Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and ex-Chelsea star Didier Drogba are also believed to be on Martino’s shortlist, though the possibility of landing Berbatov less expensively comes as a more realistic option.

The 32-year-old ex-Manchester United star could be lured to Spain by the possibility of one final big career move and the shot of playing at the highest levels once more, though it remains to be seen if his wage demands and expectation over regular playing time appeals to Barca.

Messi has been ruled out for the rest of the year with a hamstring tear and is expected to be sidelined for at least eight weeks, after picking up the injury against Real Betis last Sunday.

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