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Why Man Utd would be mad to give up on unwanted Barcelona star

| 03.06.2014

After a fortnight of fervent speculation, it seems likely that Cesc Fabregas has played his last game for boyhood club Barcelona, although where the 27-year-old will end up next is a mite more difficult to predict at this stage.

The versatile midfielder/forward may not be feeling the love from new Blaugrana boss Luis Enrique, but he’s still well liked by national team coach Vicente del Bosque and rates a live outsider at 50/1 to pick up the Golden Boot at the World Cup, given the Spain gaffer’s barely-disguised contempt for strikers.

Del Bosque’s faith in old stagers Fernando Torres and David Villa, plus fitness concerns surrounding Diego Costa, suggests the likes of Fabregas, winger Pedro and Manchester United number 10 Juan Mata will be heavily relied upon for goals in Brazil.

Whether Fabregas will still be a Barca player by the time the defending champions take on the Netherlands in their opening match is unclear, but the options open to the former Arsenal man appeared to have narrowed in recent days.

Reports indicate that Mesut Ozil’s presence at the Emirates has made it difficult for Arsene Wenger to justify bringing his former captain back to north London, and Arsenal’s summer transfer priorities clearly veer towards a new right-back, centre-half and centre-forward.

While rumours that the Gunners are unlikely to take up their first option to buy back Fabregas are surprising, whispers that Man Utd’s incoming boss Louis van Gaal will not continue his new club’s year-long pursuit of the midfielder is an even more shocking development.

David Moyes made Fabregas his number one target during his only summer in the Old Trafford hotseat and with good reason, after watching him score 11 La Liga goals and lay on 11 more during the 2012/13 campaign.

United’s capture of Mata from Chelsea last January may have tempered their enthusiasm for another La Roja attacking-midfielder, but Fabregas showed during his time at Arsenal that he can fit just as comfortably into a deeper-midfield role, where Van Gaal is in desperate need of new blood.

With Manchester City thought to be awaiting developments regarding Yaya Toure before launching a bid, United must act quickly to avoid losing another former Arsenal midfield maestro to their ‘noisy’ neighbours, after missing out on Samir Nasri three years ago.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune