Manchester United have admitted defeat in the race to sign Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas and “respect” his decision to remain at Camp Nou.
David Moyes reportedly made the former Arsenal captain his top target for the summer, but the 26-year-old this week publicly stated his desire to remain with the Catalan club.
Manchester United had two bids rejected for Fabregas and were reportedly considering a third before his statement, which they responded to a few hours later.
"We appreciate Cesc is a contracted player at Barcelona and completely respect everything Cesc has said today,” read the United statement.
Fabregas had been silent on the speculation up until Thursday, where he was speaking at a Barcelona press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
"Triumphing in Barcelona is what I have been hoping for all my life. It's been my dream since I was a child," he said.
"I am very happy at Barcelona and I haven't spoken to any other club in the last two years.
"I've been relaxed about it the whole time. I didn't have to clarify anything because the only thing I was thinking about was staying at Barça.”
Manchester United will have to look elsewhere to replenish their midfield department and this is the second Barcelona player they have missed out on this season after Thiago Alcantara opted for European champions Bayern Munich over a switch to Old Trafford.
Moyes has reportedly turned to his former charge at Everton, Marouane Fellaini, after missing out on Fabregas and Alcantara, though Toffees manager Roberto Martinez has insisted no bid had been made.