Less than a day after losing out on Thiago Alcantara, Manchester United yesterday afternoon submitted a £26m offer to Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas, as David Moyes desperately seeks to bolster his terminally-ill midfield.
What had, initially, seemed a completely unconceivable option, for Barcelona would be reluctant to part ways with another midfielder and given that Arsenal have first refusal on their former captain should he leave the Camp Nou, might not be such a far-fetched story after all, as reported by virtually every newspaper today.
Not surprisingly, the Sun takes the boldest approach, claiming that United will be Fabregas’ preferred destination if Barcelona decide to sell him, with the obligatory source quoted saying that: “Cesc would only go if Barcelona agreed to sell him.
“The Barca midfield is already looking very crowded for next season and you wonder how many games Cesc will start.
“He wants to play in the World Cup next summer and needs to be playing regularly.
“Arsenal have first refusal on him but he’d prefer a switch to United.”
The Sun also claims that David Moyes is ready to trigger Marouane Fellaini’s release clause, a story which is also ran by the Guardian, with the broadsheet highlighting United’s need for two midfielders, preferably capable to find the net.
Fellaini scored 12 goals for Everton last season, while Fabregas’ goalscoring record during his spell at Arsenal speak for itself, hence David Moyes’ decision to lodge a formal offer for the 26-year-old, rather than for former Spurs’ schemer Luka Modric, continues the Guardian.
The broadsheet, however, is a lot more cautious than the Sun as far as the chances of Cesc Fabregas joining United are concerned, as “the deal hinges on whether Barcelona – who purchased the player from Arsenal for €29m (£25m) in 2011 – are willing to sell. Arsenal have a first-option clause on Fábregas should Barcelona make him available but this depends on him wanting to return there, which is unlikely.”
However, should Barcelona be ready to open talks with United, though, Fabregas could force the club’s hand as he would clearly feel that he’s no longer part of Tito Villanova’s plans even though, according to the Telegraph, the Catalans are likely to refuse United’s first £26m bid.
The broadsheet also confirms United’s interest in Fellaini, while offering the clearest indication yet that Fabregas’ former club, Arsenal, won’t stand in United’s way should Barcelona agree to part ways with the 26-year-old as Arsene Wenger is pursuing other targets this summer.
Arsenal’s £25m buy-back option is largely considered to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks United must negotiate if they’re to land the former Arsenal captain and while Arsene Wenger might be looking at different players, Arsenal fans wouldn’t be overly pleased if their former captain was to join one of their main rivals only 12 months after their best player had done so.
Elsewhere, Michael Carrick has praised David Moyes’ hands-on approach in the early days of his United career. “The tour has been really good so far and there is a great atmosphere around the place.
“The manager has brought that in. He’s enthusiastic and energetic and intense with his work, and that’s rubbed off on everyone,” Carrick told the Mirror.
“Training has been good and there is a huge focus and a good feel around the place.”
Signing a midfielder or two would go a long a way towards ensuring that good feel will last throughout the season.