Despite Fabregas's insistence that he wants to stay at the Nou Camp, Manchester United believe they can convince him to return to the Premier League.
David Moyes views the Spain international as the perfect replacement for Paul Scholes, and has firmed up his interest with a £26m bid.
The United boss reportedly had concerns over Alcantara's ability to adjust to Premier League football - something which would not apply to Fabregas.
The former-Arsenal captain starred in the English top flight before switching to his boyhood club in the summer of 2011.
But he's failed to settle completely in Catalonia, and struggled to cement a first-team place.
Barcelona are expected to reject the opening bid though, having paid £25m to bring him to the Nou Camp from north London two summers ago.
The report claims United sources have confirmed the offer, which would be £4m short of the club's record transfer fee - the £30.75m paid for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
Conflicting reports suggested Manchester United were to actually bid £35m for the Spanish midfielder, although the Daily Mirror report claims that figure is the amount Barcelona have set as Fabregas's asking price.
Arsenal still hold the right of first refusal on their former player, but would be unwilling to match a bid around the £35m mark.
And Barcelona are reportedly keen to keep hold of the 25-year-old, having just sold 22-year-old central midfielder Alcantara to Bayern Munich.
But United seem to have stepped up their search for a new midfielder the night after discovering they'd failed to land the Spain under-21 international. The reported Fabregas bid reflects that new-found urgency.