With less than three weeks until the end of the transfer window and just two days before the start of the Premier League season, Manchester United’s search for a first major signing under David Moyes could them return with another offer for Cesc Fabregas. The Daily Telegraph reports that United are considering making a £40 million bid, despite their interest in the midfielder appearing to have ended last week.
Having already had two offers of around £26 million and £30 million rejected by Barcelona, Fabregas claimed last week that he would be staying at the Camp Nou. “There was never anything in my head other than the idea of staying here, he said. “I am very happy at FC Barcelona. I haven’t spoken to any other club in the last two years.”
Yet, according to the Telegraph, United continue to believe that the former Arsenal captain retains doubts about just how much of an integral part he will have to play in Barcelona’s upcoming season. Despite starting over 40 matches for Barcelona last season, Fabregas has yet to establish a defined role in the team he rejoined in 2011.
It doesn’t appear that the Premier League champions are putting all their eggs in the Fabregas basket, however. Luka Modric has regularly been linked with a move to Old Trafford and ESPN reports that they have now been informed by United sources that contact has been made with Real Madrid about the Croatian playmaker.
Modric has been cited as a United target in the past two summers, first when Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to sell at any price and then when he was eventually sold to Madrid 12 months ago. While the 27-year-old would provide similar passing ability to Fabregas, Modric lacks the goal threat that Fabregas would supply.
More surprising is ESPN’s report of being informed that Manchester United have also made contact with Real Madrid about signing Mesut Ozil. The German attacking midfielder is a world-class operator but the interest from United would appear to make little sense given the presence at Old Trafford of Shinji Kagawa.
It is also another pursuit that appears destined to end in disappointment. While the phenomenally talented Isco has arrived from Malaga this summer, Ozil looks set to remain an integral player under new Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. Yet, Spanish TV program Punto Pelota also reports on United’s interest, with journalist Siro Lopez even claiming that a £40 million offer has been discussed and that Ozil is open to the switch.
Another unexpected target may also have emerged, with Samuel Eto’o’s camp claiming that United have joined the list of clubs looking to secure the striker in a cut-price deal from Anzhi Makhachkala. The formerly big-spending Russian side have recently decided to slash their budget and Eto’o, who is thought to earn £17 million a year after tax, looks set to be one of the first players they’ll try to move on.
The 32-year-old has said that he would relish a move to Chelsea, and a chance to work once more with Jose Mourinho, while Inter Milan and Napoli have also been linked. But, according to the Daily Mirror, Eto’o perhaps realizing he is Chelsea’s fallback option if they fail to get Wayne Rooney, is now talking up interest from Old Trafford.