x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Manchester United's offer for Cesc Fabregas adds spice to transfer talk

David Moyes wants midfielder, seen as cover for Wayne Rooney, but Arsenal have first right over Barca player whose interest is not known in the first place.

Cesc Fabregas, centre, moved to Barcelona from Arsenal but limited chances in Spain may prompt the Brazilian to look elsewhere as he aims for more playing time and make his way to Brazil's World Cup squad. Bjorn Larsson / AFP
Cesc Fabregas, centre, moved to Barcelona from Arsenal but limited chances in Spain may prompt the Brazilian to look elsewhere as he aims for more playing time and make his way to Brazil's World Cup squad. Bjorn Larsson / AFP

The Manchester United manager David Moyes has offered Cesc Fabregas the chance to return to the English Premier League.

The coach has lodged a £26 million (Dh144.1m) bid for the former Arsenal captain, who has failed to secure a regular starting slot.

Yet he has made 96 appearances in his two seasons at Barcelona, and the initial reaction is that they are not interested in parting with Fabregas, 26.

"The player is not transferable," a source told reporters last night.

Such words are not always the signal that a transfer is impossible. In this instance, though, it is not known whether the midfielder actually wants to move.

However, after his eight-year stint at Arsenal, which came to an end in 2011, Fabregas may conclude he is better-placed to expand his medal collection by joining United as opposed to his former club if he concludes his time at the Camp Nou is over.

That is by no means certain.

Having seen teammate Thiago Alcantara join Bayern Munich, Fabregas may think he still has a future at Barcelona, despite the competition provided by Xavi, Andres Iniesta and the team's £50m new signing, Neymar.

Yet, like Thiago, Fabregas also knows his place in the Spain squad for next summer's Fifa World Cup in Brazil will be at risk if he does not feature regularly at club level.

But a potential stumbling block to United's ambitions of acquiring the Spaniard could be a clause in Fabregas's contract that Arsenal have the right of first refusal should he decide to leave.

Given the state of United's midfield, he likely would be one of the key men at Old Trafford. Having lost Paul Scholes to retirement, the continuing doubt over the career of Darren Fletcher and a belief among fans that Brazilian Anderson will never fulfil the promise that earned him a big-money move from Porto in 2007, Moyes has already confirmed he requires additional competition for Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley.

And the side issue would be that because he has featured in the advanced "false nine" role, it would raise a further question mark over Wayne Rooney's status with the Old Trafford outfit.

The move also backs up the views of United chief executive Ed Woodward, who said on Sunday that Moyes had money to sign players and that the club was able to compete for players in the £70 million (Dh388.2m) bracket.

The development adds extra spice to the second leg of United's pre-season tour in Sydney against an A League All Stars side at the ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

After Saturday's surprise 1-0 defeat in Bangkok, Robin van Persie and David de Gea have arrived to bolster Moyes' squad.

Van Persie is particularly important, since Danny Welbeck is the only orthodox frontman on the trip. However, with Nemanja Vidic, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia and Rooney among a large number of absentees, Moyes is still not even close to working with his full squad as he prepares for the start of United's title defence next month.

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