The back pages on Monday were awash with claims that Manchester United will now turn their attention back to Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, following his young teammate Thiago Alcantara’s signing for Bayern Munich.
Manchester United had been heavily linked with interest and subsequent bids for Thiago Alcantara but after intense speculation he would be David Moyes’ major signing this summer, it would appear he’s agreed to join European champions Bayern Munich to reunite with his former boss in Catalonia Pep Guardiola.
The 22-year-old has agreed a four-year deal (pending a successful medical) and the Bundesliga champions have agreed a £21.6 million (initially £17.3 million) fee with the La Liga champions they beat 7-0 over the two-legged Champions League semi-final last term.
United, meanwhile, had been linked with his elder compatriot and former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas prior to reports the English champions were chasing Thiago.
Fabregas has clearly stated that his desire is to remain at the Camp Nou where he returned in 2011 after eight years with the Gunners but the 26-year-old midfielder has not enjoyed the same status with the Catalans as he had in North London.
Fabregas initially swapped Barcelona for London back in 2003 as a 16-year-old after it became apparent that he would struggle to gain access to regular first-team football with Barcelona due to his primary position being occupied by the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
The Catalan giants were determined to bring their boy with the ‘Barca DNA’ back home and they got their heart’s desire in 2011 after agreeing a £35 million fee with Arsenal for their captain.
Arsenal too have been linked with interest in bringing him back to the Emirates this summer and whilst the Gunners’ fans would undoubtedly be in favour of such a move, it seems increasingly unlikely that either Arsenal (who, incidentally, have the first right of refusal if Barcelona want to sell him) or Manchester United will get their hands on him.
Whilst numerous publications in England claim United are now turning their attention back to Fabregas, it’s fairly nonsensical given that Thiago’s departure actually increases the likelihood that he’ll remain in Barcelona.
Given that they are very similar players competing for the same position(s) with similar squad status, it makes it twice as likely that Barcelona will keep Fabregas as cover and to alternate with Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. Having reluctantly sold Thiago, I very much doubt Barcelona will return Fabregas to England.
image: © ins11thiago