Manchester United have had two successive bids for Cesc Fabregas rejected by Barcelona as the Catalans insists the former Arsenal captain is categorically not for sale and will remain at the Camp Nou.
Reports on Wednesday now claim that United may turn their attention to either Real Madrid’s Luka Modric or Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye should their hopes of signing Fabregas fail.
The Red Devils were understood to have been in hot pursuit of Fabregas’ former Barcelona teammate, youngster Thiago Alcantara who has now signed for European champions Bayern Munich.
It’s abundantly clear that United are in desperate need of a quality midfield playmaker to replace Paul Scholes following the veteran’s retirement and both Alcantara and Fabregas fit that mold ideally.
However, Barcelona appear (at least publicly) absolutely unwilling to discuss the sale of the former Gunners’ skipper who returned to his boyhood club in Spain in 2011 for £35 million after 8 years in the Premier League.
Both Modric, formerly of Tottenham, and Cabaye of Newcastle have ample experience of the demands of the Premier League. Cabaye’s manager Alan Pardew hopes to keep hold of his main maestro and Real Madrid have yet to comment on Modric’s future.
However, United could instead look at an alternative – as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Southampton have revealed an interest in Valencia playmaker Ever Banega and I outlined my astonishment that more of the top-six in England weren’t at least considering him as an option this summer.
The Argentine midfielder comes from the same mentorship as David Silva, Juan Mata and David Villa and has played alongside Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, Simao, and Maxi Rodriguez.
The 25-year-old is something of a hidden gem of La Liga and, so far this summer it would appear that only the Saints have been doing their Spanish homework.
He is a sublime passer of the ball – has possesses the kind of first-touch and control that Fabregas and Silva have, his vision and creativity is first-class and his technical quality and intelligence makes him difficult to mark and difficult to stop when he bursts forward. At 5ft9” he’s not a miniature in the way that, for example, Santi Cazorla is, but his centre of gravity is low making his balance and agility levels top notch.
He’s got international experience as well as Champions League experience and his versatility means he can operate primarily as an attacking midfielder but can also function well if deployed as a defensive midfielder.
Ever Banega would be a quality addition for Manchester United – for around £15 million, David Moyes could have a player capable of producing the kind of performances on a par with Cesc Fabregas, Yohan Cabaye, and Luka Modric.
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