In recent weeks the Spaniard has been linked with a possible return to former club Arsenal where he became captain before returning to his hometown club in Catalonia in 2010.
Since his move to the club where he trained as a youngster before his move to North London at the age of 16, Fabregas has not enjoyed a sustained role in the Barca first-team as speculation over his future persists.
The news today that United are interested in him was, admittedly surprising. However, upon a second thought the midfielder is exactly the kind of signing United need to make this summer after the official retirement of Paul Scholes.
Sir Alex Ferguson bought Shinji Kagawa last summer and there is no doubt he’s a decent buy and a player than can contribute goals and assists for years to come at United but there still remains a huge void in United’s midfield, however you look at it and Fabregas is one of only a handful of players who could perhaps even try to replace a player of Scholes’ quality and commitment.
Fabregas himself said of Scholes:
"He is the one whose level I aspire to. He is the best player in the Premier League."
His Barcelona teammate Xavi revealed that he, along with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi had to draw straws to decide who would get to swap shirts with the United legend back in the Champions League final of 2011.
Even at Barcelona’s La Masia academy, Scholes’ name frequently comes into conversation during training and coaching session – he has been the ‘most complete midfielder’ of his generation.
That kind of player is incredibly difficult to replace – his passing, those perfectly-weighted 40 and 50-yard across field balls, his vision to pick out the runs of forwards and his complete control of the pace and tempo of the game is very similar to the likes of Xavi at Barca and, in many ways, Michael Laudrup in his heyday.
Fabregas has also said many times that his idols were Laudrup and former Barca coach Pep Guardiola and, by the way he plays, you can see the influence those greats had on his development.
Fabregas now 26 years of age is one very few players who have the technical ability to control possession the way Scholes did, pick out passes from distance and dictate the play at the highest level.
Equally, Scholes is part of that ‘old school’ mentality that Ferguson drummed into his players of high expectations of focus, commitment, and determination without fail in every game. Ferguson didn’t like to lose and his players are the same – losing is unacceptable.
That is the kind of attitude Fabregas had instilled in him at La Masia – you can see evidence of that in most of the players that have come out of that academy and cemented their places in the Catalans’ first team.
They are winners – Cesc Fabregas is a winner and, in Manchester United, he could very well find himself surrounded with players who share that mentality.
Of course, the only glitch would be the fact that Fabregas had and still has a great affection for Arsenal, the manager and the fans and it would effectively destroy the great relationship he built with the club where he is still regarded as one of their greats.
For Arsenal fans it would be worse than seeing Robin van Persie wearing a Red Devils’ shirt but for Cesc Fabregas Manchester United would be a great match and for the club he may just be the only player who could replace Paul Scholes.
image: © ins11thiago