David Moyes is refusing to concede defeat in his pursuit of Cesc Fabregas and has reportedly sanctioned a third bid for the Barcelona midfielder. Manchester United have already had two bids rejected, with Barcelona repeatedly stating that the player is not for sale. Fabregas’s only comments this summer have also been to reiterate his commitment to his boyhood club.
Yet, United believe that the former Arsenal captain wants to move to Old Trafford and are set to return with a third bid, according to the Manchester Evening News. With offers of around £26 million and £30 million rejected, United are now prepared to break their £30.75 million transfer record that was paid to Tottenham for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
ESPN believes that the improved offer will total £40 million, with £5 million of that made up of potential add-ons. The figure would eclipse what Barcelona paid to bring the 26-year-old back to the club in 2011 and there is likely to be some temptation to cash in. The Catalans have faltered in their pursuit of a central defender this summer and have already spent big to bring Neymar to the club. Yet, having already seen Thiago Alcantara leave the Camp Nou earlier this month, it remains difficult to envisage Barcelona allowing another midfielder to depart. Unless Fabregas agitates for a transfer, which seems unlikely given his close ties to the club, a deal remains a distant prospect.
If the move does not come to fruition, then the longer United’s pursuit goes on the more ignominious it will be for a club of their stature. It would also leave the Premier League champions increasingly short of time to secure other targets.
While not necessarily an alternative to Fabregas, Moyes remains interested in a reunion with Marouane Fellaini, reports ESPN. The Everton midfielder has a clause in his contract that allows him to join a Champions League club for a fee of around £23 million, but that expires at the end of July. Goal.com claims that United are considering triggering the clause before the deadline. It may be, though, that they are instead waiting for it to expire in the hopes of then being able to negotiate a lower fee.
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A direct alternative to Fabregas has been mooted in Italy, meanwhile. Corriere dello Sport claims that Manchester United will revive their interest in Juventus’s Claudio Marchisio if the bid for Fabregas fails. The all-round midfielder and Italy international has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford and the Italian publication believes a move could happen for €30 million (£26.2m).
Meanwhile, another long-standing United target, Robert Lewandowski, has again lambasted Borussia Dortmund for not allowing his desired move to Bayern Munich to come to fruition in the current transfer window. With just a year remaining on his contract, the Poland striker has again claimed that he had an agreement that he could join Dortmund’s rivals.
"If someone says something, he should keep his word. I'm not saying it's only about the transfer, but other things we have discussed with management and that has not materialized,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
"It turns out that words spoken straight into my eyes were untrue. No matter how hard I will train and what I will do, the feeling that I've been cheated will still be there. Maybe that word is too much, so for now I will say I'm disappointed."
While Lewandowski looked happy enough during Dortmund’s German Supercup win over Bayern on Saturday, his latest comments may once more lead to speculation that a compromise could be reached where the 24-year-old moves to a club outside of Germany. And, if that is the case, United would surely be firmly in the picture.