Chelsea have signed Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, but you get the sense that the Spain international would have been delighted had Louis van Gaal decided he wanted the 27-year-old to become the star of his new Manchester United side. However, for reasons currently unknown, the vastly-experienced Dutch coach snubbed the opportunity - opting instead to target other midfielders.
After rejecting the chance to sign both Fabregas and Toni Kroos it’s hard not to feel that Van Gaal is trying to distance himself from his predecessor David Moyes as much as possible. The 62-year-old likes to do things his way - with his own staff and his own players - and trying to convince him to sign a certain player will, in all probability, merely encourage him to do the complete opposite. It’s a surprise he still wants Southampton and England left-back Luke Shaw at Old Trafford next season.
But the announcement of Fabregas’s signing couldn’t have come at a worse time for Van Gaal, whose Netherlands side know they face arguably the toughest World Cup opener of any nation competing at this summer’s showpiece international tournament. Spain are the reigning world champions and will be desperate to get their World Cup campaign off to the best possible start: by beating the same side they conquered in the final four years ago in Johannesburg.
Fabregas, meanwhile, will be hungry to prove those who doubted his ability wrong. Van Gaal, after rejecting the chance to sign Fabregas for Manchester United, falls into that category and could be served an ice-cool dish of revenge by the Spaniard in Salvador on Friday night.
The Spaniard can show the iconic Dutch coach exactly what he’s missing out on with a talismanic performance in the Group B opener. He may have skied a ridiculously bad penalty over the bar against El Salvador last weekend, but now news of his transfer to west London is out in the open he can, as he says in his own words, have his mind fully “focused on hopefully helping my country try to retain the trophy”.
Fabregas will also be desperate to show Arsene Wenger - who is in Brazil - that he was foolish to reject the chance to re-sign him, while simultaneously impressing his new manager Jose Mourinho.
It promises to be one of the most fascinating sub-plots from the opening days of the World Cup finals - but will Fabregas come out on top against Van Gaal on Friday? Have your say in the comments section below.