Luka Modric, formerly of Tottenham Hotspur has had a disappointing debut season in La Liga, by his own high standards and former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has synonymously failed to replicate his previously impeccable record for the Gunners since his return to his boyhood club Barcelona.
Both former Premier League stars are linked with interest from Manchester United this summer where new manager David Moyes is hoping to continue the success of his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson.
Moyes’ first priority has to be re-establishing a midfield core following the retirement of Paul Scholes who operated as the Red Devils’ key playmaker for the best part of two decades at Old Trafford.
Currently Moyes is rumoured to be interested in both of the aforementioned La Liga midfielders along with Fabregas’ Catalan teammate young Thiago Alcantara.
However, United will likely require the services of a seasoned and experienced playmaker who can come in and hit the ground running at the highest level without needing a period of transition to adapt to the demands and intensity of the Premier League.
At 27 years of age Modric is the elder of the two and, despite a disappointing season with Real Madrid, his value at Tottenham was worth every penny of his £33 million transfer fee. He was simply put, the architect of all creative attacking play at White Hart Lane for four seasons with Spurs
Across his 127 Premier League appearances, he scored 13 goals and made an impressive 21 assists but the stats don’t account for his exceptional pass completion rate during that time (88.95%), his unrivalled vision and his superb technical supremacy.
Meanwhile, across North London, during much the same period, Cesc Fabregas had much the same impact on Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side. He spent 7 seasons in the first team fold at the Emirates where he managed an incredible 35 goals and 77 assists in 212 Premier League appearances.
At the tender age of just 21, Fabregas was named captain at Arsenal. Despite his youth, he had already made an impressive 150 appearances for Arsenal in the Premier League and 45 appearances in the Champions League, including the 2005/06 Champions League final against Barcelona.
His pass completion rate at Arsenal was 89% – he was their skipper, their leader and the heart of their team and has not really found the same level of form since his departure.
For the money United would have to spend to acquire one these two world-class midfielders, they may as well spend £25-£30 million on the best one. But which one would suit United best? Currently, United already have within their ranks Shinji Kagawa who is a very similar type of player to Modric.
What United are really going to need is a long-term replacement for Scholes and, of the La Liga pair, Fabregas is the most similar. His range of passing, as well as his tackling capability, his leadership qualities and his finishing make him the better fit for United, especially given that he’s a year the Croatian’s junior.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald