The Premier League champions will return with one last offer for the Spain midfielder, but are pessimistic about their chances and have lined up a number of alternative signings
By Greg Stobart
Manchester United will make an improved third bid worth €41 million for Cesc Fabregas after Barcelona rejected their latest offer for the midfielder, Goal understands.
The Blaugrana have turned down United’s second bid for Fabregas – worth €35m plus add-ons – and have told the Premier League champions the former Arsenal captain is not for sale.
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I think Barca will reject the third offer, as they have already let a few “minor” players go – and of course Thiago – and now their bench looks a bit short. With Xavi getting older, Fabregas is one of the few “heavyweights” remaining.
Despite a hard season he was signed to be Xavi’s replacement and he may be needed more than ever. Besides, Barcelona are on the verge of appointing a new coach, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, and he is likely to have a say in the decision.
United, however, are preparing a third and final bid to test Barcelona’s reserve as the club’s vice-president, Ed Woodward, looks to provide new manager David Moyes with a stellar midfield signing this summer.
The Premier League champions would offer Fabregas a wage package worth around €233,000-a-week but fear they will be unable to agree a fee with Barcelona to take the player to Old Trafford.
Moyes confirmed on Monday that United had lodged an improved bid for Fabregas, as the 26-year-old is ready to consider his future at the Camp Nou, with former club Arsenal holding a €29m buy-back clause and also monitoring the situation.
Barca expect to keep Fabregas, particularly in light of Thiago Alcantara’s departure to Bayern Munich, and United sources are increasingly pessimistic about the club’s chances of landing the Spain international.
“This is the final push,” a source close to the deal told Goal. “They are only willing to give it one more go, and know that if this fails they have other options.”
Moyes publicly admitted United may be forced to accept defeat in their pursuit of Fabregas, while Barcelona are believed to have given the English club short shrift, not least because their second offer was made on the same day that coach Tito Vilanova announced his resignation for health reasons.
United are considering alternatives should they miss out on Fabregas, with Luka Modric, Yohan Cabaye and and Marouane Fellaini all on Moyes’ shortlist to add creativity and attacking threat to his midfield.
United made their first bid of €29m for Fabregas last week, which the Catalans immediately rejected, prompting Woodward to leave the pre-season trip to Australia ahead of schedule on Wednesday.
Fabregas returned to his hometown club in 2011 after eight years at Arsenal, but has struggled for a regular starting spot at the Camp Nou.
He still made 32 appearances for Barca last season, scoring 11 goals and providing 11 assists.