Former Manchester United defender Paul McGrath has expressed his surprise that the club didn’t rival Chelsea for the signature of Francesc Fabregas this summer, declaring that he believes the Spaniard would have opted for Old Trafford over Stamford Bridge if given the chance.
The long-winded saga surrounding Fabregas’ future was ended when Jose Mourinho coughed up £30 million to prise him away from Barcelona, despite initial interest also coming from both United and Arsenal. However, when push came to shove Chelsea were the only club readily willing to finance a move for the former Gunners captain, and so Stamford Bridge were bolstered by the arrival of a talented midfielder in his prime.
However, although it became apparent that Louis van Gaal had little interest in capturing Fabregas - which was made clear by his decision not to rival Mourinho’s bid in attempt to hijack the transfer - McGrath believes the Dutchman may have made the wrong move.
Speaking to TalkSPORT the 54-year-old told how he was sure Fabregas would have opted for United had he been given the choice between them and his new club, given the vast differences in the history of the two clubs.
“I’m sure Cesc Fabregas would have picked Man United [over Chelsea] simply because of the history. Most people believe that United is the bigger club, with the history and everything else," said the ex-Ireland international
"It is amazing we can’t get these players. I think it is a lack of leadership on the Manchester United side. The club doesn’t need selling because people want to play for them but it is going out there, getting those players, and doing it quick.”
United’s transfer endeavours
Though McGrath didn’t go into detail to specify the individuals he meant with “these players”, it’s not too difficult to hazard an educated guess. Van Gaal appears to have been knocked back in his attempts to land a number of top European stars, with the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Eliaquim Mangala opting to go elsewhere.
Following the capture of Argentina international Marco Rojo United appear to have turned the bulk of their attentions towards configuring a deal for Angel di Maria, though a combination of Real Madrid’s expectations and Paris Saint-Germain’s stubbornness is proving to be quite the obstacle.
Quite why Van Gaal decided to pass up on the opportunity to land Fabregas, just as Arsene Wenger did, remains a relative mystery. Since then the Red Devils have been hotly linked with an attempt to land Arturo Vidal, who occupies a similar position in the midfield, and Fabregas’ experience from his time in north London means he would have had little difficulty settling in.
Indeed, the 27-year-old’s first showing in a Chelsea shirt appears to have proven just what he remains capable of offering when given the chance to orchestrate play. The Spain international provided two assists as Mourinho’s side got off the mark with a 3-1 win away at Burnley, and United fans could well now be left wondering what might have been had their manager taken a different tact.
Red Devils fans, would you have liked to have seen Fabregas plying his trade alongside Ander Herrera in the centre of midfield? Let us know in the comments box below...