Manchester United’s third bid for Cesc Fabregas is set to be their final attempt to bring the Barcelona midfielder to Old Trafford. Various reports claimed on Wednesday that David Moyes had decided to make yet another approach for Fabregas, despite already having offers of around £26 million and £30 million rejected. The Daily Mirror now claims that the latest bid, expected to be in excess of £35 million, will be a case of “take it or leave it.”
There has been little to suggest that Barcelona’s response will be anything other than to “leave it.” While stories continue that United believe that Fabregas would be open to a move, he has said nothing of the sort publicly and Barcelona have insisted that it is both the club’s and that player’s wish that he remains at the Camp Nou.
One man that would like to see Fabregas move on is United keeper David de Gea. After revealing that he unsuccessfully tried to persuade another Barcelona midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, to join him at Old Trafford, the Spaniard has stated that Fabregas would greatly enhance the United side. “He'll have to make a decision whether to stay at Barcelona or join us,” he told Marca. “He’d be a great signing as he'd help us improve a lot.”
At this stage it is likely that alternatives are firmly being considered in the event that Fabregas proves unattainable. But it doesn’t appear that United will enjoy more luck should they pursue their long-mooted interest in Juventus’s Claudio Marchisio. Despite plenty of speculation linking him with a move away, the Italy international has revealed that he still envisages his long-term future being in Turin.
“I spoke with [Juventus director general, Beppe] Marotta because it was right to analyze the situation,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I wanted to clarify everything with the club. My dream is to still end my career with Juventus. Even if I know that in football, you never know.
“Every summer the possibility that I might go away is always talked about," he added. “I'm certainly glad that big European clubs are linked to my name. On that front, a new name has come into the reckoning.”
Manchester United have now been linked with another midfielder plying his trade in Italy. The agent of Bologna’s French-born Algeria international Saphir Taider has said that the Premier League champions have contacted him about a move. His comments suggest, though, the possibility that his claims may have more to do with angling for an improved contract.
“I’ve not heard from Inter,” George Atangana told Corriere di Bologna. “I have been in touch with other clubs, like Manchester United, though. I told them to contact Bologna directly. If Bologna value him at €18m, then how is it possible that they are paying him as if he is worth nothing?
“He deserves more money and I wouldn’t be doing my job correctly if I didn’t ask Bologna to improve his agreement. If a club like Manchester United is interested in one of your players then you have to give him what he deserves if you want him to stay.”
Meanwhile, speculation linking Cristiano Ronaldo with an exit from Real Madrid and a potential return to Manchester United refuses to disappear. Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon is the latest to have his say, suggesting that Madrid’s pursuit of Gareth Bale may be due to a fear that Ronaldo will soon be on his way. The Portuguese star has yet to sign a new deal, having entered the final two years of his contract. It should be noted, though, that Calderon has made a habit of making pointed remarks against his successor at the helm of the Spanish giants.
"I know that he is not happy at all with the attitude and behavior of the president,” Calderon told Talksport. “He is asking for €20 million (£17.5m) net every season which is going to be difficult for Real to accept.
“I think the president has all his eggs on the table just in case he can’t get the renewal of Cristiano,” he added. “That is my impression. He’s afraid at some moment that Cristiano will say, ‘I am not going to go on.' That will be bad news for Madrid. I would like to see him retire at Real but now the situation is difficult. Let's see in the next weeks or months if it can be sorted out and he can stay.”