Barcelona tell Manchester United Cesc Fabregas is not for sale
Spanish midfielder will have to request a move to push through transfer
New Barcelona coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino is certain Cesc Fabregas will be part of his team next season, despite repeated interest from Manchester United. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images.
Barcelona’s new coach, Gerardo Martino, has said that a third Manchester United bid for Cesc Fabregas – whatever its value – would be rejected, a statement that may leave David Moyes’s summer transfer strategy in crisis. After making the midfielder his prime target, the United manager is close to entering the window’s final month yet to make a major signing.
If United are to buy Fabregas it may require the former Arsenal captain to make a transfer request to force it through. The champions are convinced he wants to leave but whether Fabregas can face making an official demand to depart his boyhood team remains to be seen, and even then it may not shift Barca’s position.
With the Catalan club having lost Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich, they are loth to allow another of their attacking midfielders to go. United have had bids of €30m and€35m rejected and, it seems, even a club record €40m offer would not make them reconsider.
On Thursday Moyes said that negotiations were “ongoing” for the 26-year-old, suggesting that the pursuit of Fabregas would continue a while longer and could yet have a positive outcome for United. Martino, however, made it clear that in his view Fabregas will remain at Barcelona next season. In a first press conference since succeeding Tito Vilanova as coach, Martino said: “I’m not going to involve myself in the club’s accounts, but considering the club has already rejected two offers, I would guess it will reject a third. In other words, Fabregas will remain here.”
The Argentinian’s stance was reiterated by the Barcelona vice-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu: “Whatever offer United make, however big, we will say no. Cesc Fabregas will stay a Barcelona player. That United shows interest in Cesc Fabregas is normal. He is a truly great player. It doesn’t annoy us.
“But whatever offer arrives from them we are not going to sell Cesc Fabregas. We are counting on him. I think Tata (Martino) was clear that he is counting on him as a player and Andoni Zubizarreta [the director of football] from the first day when we asked him about it saying there was an offer he replied Cesc is not for sale. We are very happy with him.”
United still retain an interest in signing Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, though the current view at the club is that the chances of landing either are remote. Other options include Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Yohan Cabaye of Newcastle United. Yet none of these players are the stellar signing the new manager and Ed Woodward, the chief executive, crave.
Woodward flew back to Europe from Sydney during United’s pre-season tour to try and force through the purchase of Fabregas and is keen to deliver a marquee signing to Moyes in his new role as head of the club’s transfer business.
Following United’s 2-2 draw with Cerezo Osaka, Moyes has a fresh injury concern over Jonny Evans that will rule him out of Monday’s final tour game in Hong Kong.
Moyes currently has Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney, Nani and Antonio Valencia all back at the club’s Carrington training base recovery from injuries.