Manchester United prepare shock bid for Cesc Fabregas
Manchester United transfer news: Arsenal have first option on Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas
The 26-year-old midfielder has struggled to make a significant impact at Camp Nou, since leaving the Premier League to return to Spain in the summer of 2011, and has been the target of criticism from the Catalan club's fans this year.
After leaving the Emirates Stadium in a £35million deal less than two years ago, Fabregas's contribution to Tito Vilanova's side has been minimal, and he's already been linked with a return to England.
However, it's Arsenal and not Manchester United that were reported as favourites to secure his signature, after suggestions that Arsene Wenger inserted a clause into his initial sale, to say that the Gunners would have first option on re-signing him.
Barcelona still owe Arsenal £5million towards the fee they agreed to pay the north London club, and StandardSport believes they'll be looking to recoup a minimum of £20million for the Spain international, should they decide to let him leave at the end of the season.
Manchester United are looking to make a huge signal of intent, following Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to retire, and will attempt to lure Fabregas to Old Trafford this summer as they look to strengthen their squad ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.
With Paul Scholes having also retired, and question marks surrounding the long-term future of Darren Fletcher, new boss David Moyes will need to address the midfield department, prioritising a partner for Michael Carrick in the middle of the park.
Fabregas himself admits he hasn't been at his best with Barcelona, and a return to the Premier League could help him rediscover his best form.
"I have to improve, I need to be self-critical once the season ends but I'm young and I can do it," he said.