Just a day after missing out on the signing of Thiago Alcantara, Manchester United have made a bid of €30 million (£25.9m) for fellow Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. United were keenly linked with the former Arsenal captain earlier in the summer and now appear to have reignited their interest, according to widespread reports, following Thiago’s decision to join Bayern Munich.
The offer from the Premier League champions matches the price paid by Barcelona to bring back the Spain international from Arsenal in 2011. Yet, despite coming up through the ranks at Barcelona’s famed la Masia academy, he has struggled to find a consistently impactful role in the side and has often been forced to play out of position further forward.
There is no suggestion from Fabregas, though, that he has any intention of yet giving up on his dream to play for the Blaugrana and has repeatedly insisted that he will be staying at the Camp Nou. Given that they have just lost Thiago, it also seems highly doubtful that Barcelona would countenance losing another midfielder. The situation is further complicated by Arsenal having first option on Fabregas should Barcelona ever decide to sell.
But, while that transfer appears unlikely, David Moyes has secured his first major signing of his Old Trafford reign, according to Marca. The Spanish sports daily has reported that United have completed a €20 million (£17.3m) deal for Benfica central defender Ezequiel Garay. United’s interest in the Argentina international predates Moyes replacing Sir Alex Ferguson, with reports in Portugal claiming that a deal has long since been all-but agreed.
After failing to make an impact with Real Madrid, the 26-year-old has been a big success in his two-year spell with Benfica. His ability on the ball may see him viewed as the long-term replacement for Rio Ferdinand, despite the 34-year-old being handed a new one-year contract for this season.
However, it also appears that United are keeping their options open in central defense. The agent of Roma’s highly rated young Brazilian Marquinhos has claimed that United are one of three clubs to have made a bid for the 19-year-old. “The club has informed us that they will consider offers for Marquinhos,” Roberto Calenda told Sky Italy. “PSG, Manchester United and Barcelona have made offer and Roma could accept one of them.”
It seems probable, though, that the player will choose between PSG and Barcelona and may be pushed toward the France capital due to a reportedly massive offer having been made by the Ligue 1 winners.
If, as expected, the attempt to lure Fabregas fails, Moyes may yet return to Everton to sign his former midfielder Marouane Fellaini. The imposing Belgian has long been seen as a United target, with an inquiry said to have been made. Yet, Moyes will be fully aware that Fellaini has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for a club in the Champions League for around £23 million.
The Daily Mirror points out that the clause will expire in one month, however, on August 14. “Marouane respects the terms of the agreement he signed with Everton and has good moral standards,” a source close to Fellaini is reported to have told the Mirror. “It is up to the club how they act.”