New Manchester United manager misses out on another priority target as Cesc pledges allegiance to Camp Nou.
'I am very happy at Barcelona,' said Francesc Fabregas, a blessed midfielder playmaker who has been at the centre of Manchester United boss David Moyes' summer recruitment drive. His opening remarks in a statement announced at a press conference today, Thursday, surely extinguishes any hope the Scotsman had on luring the former Arsenal star to Old Trafford.
'Triumphing in Barcelona is what I have been hoping for all my life, it's been my dream since I was a child. I am very happy at Barcelona and I haven't spoken to any other club in the last two years,' the 26-year-old added.
'I've been relaxed about it the whole time, I didn't have to clarify anything because the only thing I was thinking about was staying at Barca. As I haven't deceived anyone or hidden anything, I told the club's press department that I would speak when it was my turn to speak to the press.'
While United improved on an earlier bid, ready to pay £30m for the World Cup winner's services, both efforts were ultimately pointless as Cesc claimed that any reports intimating he was unhappy in Catalonia and eager to return to the Premier League were completely unfounded.
'Stories have been invented. I don't know why speculation grew even after Tito [Vilanova, former Barcelona manager], Zubizarreta, Tata [Gerardo Martino, new Barcelona boss] and [vice-president Josep] Bartomeu all said they wanted me to stay.
'I was never given any sign from the club to make me think they didn't want me, I have always felt wanted here. I spoke to Bartomeu, the president [Sandro Rosell] in person and Tata also told me he wanted me to stay and there's been no problem.
'What I have to do is do everything better because I'm at the biggest and most demanding club in the world.'
One of the greatest problems with the England national football team is that there has been no footballer able to fill the void left by the internationally retired but globally-respected midfielder Paul Scholes.
Strong, modern national teams have an orchestrator in the middle of the park… silverware-magnets Spain have plenty of them - take your pick from Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta or Cesc, African Cup of Nations champions Nigeria have John Obi Mikel beginning play from deep and Confederations Cup winners Brazil benefit from Neymar's advanced role. England, though, miss their heir to Scholes' boots.
United have flirted with the notion of bringing a big-name midfield import into the playing roster for a number of years, since 2010 when rumours began of a Wesley Sneijder flirtation. Failing to bag Fab, though, cannot deter Moyes from recruiting a master in that role and there are still a number available, with some more obtainable than others…
|Luka Modric||Real Madrid||£31m|
|Ilkay Gundogan||Borussia Dortmund||£24m|
|Danny||Zenit St Petersburg||£12.5m|
|Miralem Pjanic||AS Roma||£12.5m|
Moyes has, to date, missed out on a number of targets: Fabregas (due to happiness with Barcelona), Thiago Alacantara (chose Bayern Munich over United) and Robert Lewandowski is, at the time of writing, ready to give another year to Borussia Dortmund before joining former team-mate Mario Goetze at Bayern.
Other top talents like Gareth Bale are solely linked with Real Madrid while former United player Cristiano Ronaldo is allegedly waiting on a big money contract at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
This is not lost on the press. There a number of reasons mooted by the media as to why the club are yet to make a signing aside from Penarol's full back Guillermo Valera: managerial upheaval primarily, and whether Moyes can emulate the success of his intimidatingly awesome predecessor; Sir Alex Ferguson.
The question may not be who United target after missing out on Cesc, but whether they can actually sign him…