David Moyes is certainly intent on showing us who the boss is at Manchester United. In his most authoritative move so far, the former Everton boss has made it abundantly clear that Wayne Rooney is going nowhere under his watch. That was not long after cleaning house of the previous regime and bringing in his own trusted back-room staff.
In the transfer market too, he made a play for Barcelona starlet Thiago Alcantara. But unfortunately for United, the midfielder found the lure of European Champions Bayern Munich and former manager Pep Guardiola too tempting an offer to turn down.
Having seen Thiago slip out of reach, Moyes has turned his attention to another Blaugrana midfielder, with various reports claiming that the former Everton manager has made a £25million bid for Cesc Fabregas.
Bold? You bet. And if Fabregas was to swap Catalonia for Manchester then it would be some coup for the Old Trafford outfit. Fabregas remains a world-class central midfield player who has also proven he can perform in the Premier League. United’s central midfield has remained an area of concern for a while now, and if Fabregas was to sign, then he would give the team a major boost in that area of the pitch.
But before we can even ponder Fabregas donning United red, you have to consider the substantial obstacles that could potentially stop this deal before it gets going. And perhaps the reasons why Moyes shouldn’t really pursue Fabregas with any endeavor.
The first being that Barcelona have already sold one quality midfield player this summer, why would they sell another? Thiago was seen by many as the natural heir to Xavi, but with the La Masia graduate on his way to Bavaria, Fabregas looks as though he could potentially play an extremely significant role for Barca for many years to come.
And that’s not to say he isn’t already a key member of the side. There is a common view that Fabregas is a bit part player for Los Cules and maybe he could move on in search of regular first team football. But this is remarkably misguided, for Victor Valdes aside, no player started more games for Barca last season than Fabregas. He was creative force for the Catalans too, having contributed 11 goals and 11 assists throughout the campaign. (courtesy of WhoScored.com)
Bit part? Not quite.
The Spaniard also has allegiances that could potentially put United out of the running. The most obvious of which is Fabregas’s love for current employers. But he has spoken many times of his continued affection for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club after both played such a key role in his development. Fabregas has stated in the past that ‘apart from Arsenal and Barcelona, I don’t see myself playing anywhere else.’
Somewhat ironically, if United do have a bid accepted for the Spaniard, then it would seriously enhance the chances of an Arsenal-Fabregas reunion. As part of the deal that initially took Fabregas from The Emirates to the Camp Nou, a clause was included stating the Gunners would have first refusal on the player should Barca decide to sell.
Of course with any dealings with United in their infancy, this scenario remains hypothetical. But all of the above highlight the monumental task Moyes would have in trying to broker this deal. Ambition is admirable, and Moyes clearly has it in bucket-loads, but this transfer just looks like a total non-starter.
Following the fruitless pursuit of Thiago, an unsuccessful chase for Fabregas would only lead to more questions about whether or not Moyes has the ‘star quality’ to attract these types of players. But in reality, his predecessor would have had just as little chance at signing either player.
Moyes is setting himself for a fall with this deal and is perhaps showing some understandable naivety about managing at the elite level. But such is the level of interest surrounding United, there really is no place to hide; Moyes needs to learn quickly. Now that Barcelona have rejected this initial bid, the Manchester United boss should turn his attention to other, more attainable targets.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball