Manchester United have targeted a surprise deal for Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets, a deal that could pave the way for more bids for Cesc Fabregas, according to reports.
Busquets, who is a product of Barca’s famed youth academy, is currently negotiating terms for a new contract with a huge pay rise but the Spaniards are unwilling to agree to his demands.
Therefore, having been linked with a move to Manchester City recently, other clubs have been alerted to his availability.
With Owen Hargreaves on his way out of Old Trafford, Manchester United are willing to give Busquets a mega-bucks deal in order to get one over on their bitter rivals at Eastlands.
With Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson ready to pounce for the 22-year-old, Barcelona could have the need for a new central midfielder – with Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas their preferred target.
The Gunners have made it into January before coming under more pressure from the Catalan side to sell but could be facing yet another big money bid.
As is well documented, Fabregas is a Barca fan, having played for the club’s youth academy, and is almost certain to play for them again at some point in his career.
However, he has repeatedly insisted he is happy at Arsenal for the time being and manager Arsene Wenger would not welcome any bids for his young prodigy.
And Fabregas himself has signaled the end of his Arsenal career will be after he has helped the club end their five-year trophy-less spell, saying: “Why would I want to leave? It is fantastic here.
“It would be a dream to lift trophies for Arsenal. It has always been my wish. Afterwards you can always be attracted by something else, like a new objective, or new challenges because, for me, life is all about challenges.
"But my real challenge as captain of Arsenal is to bring this football club success. This is the biggest dream I can have. I want to end these five years without a trophy and, hopefully, I can do it this season."