After losing out on Thiago Alcantara, Manchester United have been relentless in their chase of Cesc Fabregas.
After putting in a second bid of £30m new Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino insisted that Fabregas was not for sale. However, it was widely reported that Fabregas had already told friends he was excited at the prospect of a return to English football.
Fabregas would continue his almost telepathic partnership with Robin van Persie at United, but would also link up beautifully with Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere at Arsenal. United have to remember that if Barcelona accept a bid for Fabregas, Arsenal have the option to buy him back for £25m.
Fabregas would arguably be the signing of the summer. He would enhance Manchester United's chances of retaining the Premier league, but would also turn Arsenal into real title contenders. Here is a look at how he would effect the two teams interested and in turn the rest of the league.
Firstly let's assume that David Moyes makes his first big signing and brings Fabregas to Old Trafford. Moyes would be filling the attacking hole that Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to do so when signing Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund. Fabregas would be played in behind Van Persie and would become the 20 goal a year midfielder United have craved since Ronaldo's departure.
Fabregas could be at the top end of a midfield trio full of purpose, alongside the dynamic Tom Cleverly and the pass master Michael Carrick.
Fabregas is well suited to the existing midfield and his scoring relationship with Van Persie would continue to blossom.
If these signings are to happen, I predict that Rooney would soon be forgotten and that two ex-Gunners would be leading United's chase for the title.
Now we move south to the Emirates, where Fabregas is reunited with his 'second father' Arsene Wenger. Wenger has finally remembered his cheque book this summer and would certainly sign Fabregas at a deal of £25m.
Fabregas would link up wonderfully with Wilshere and Cazorla. They all play similar styles and love to keep the ball, Barcelona have created a master of keeping the ball in Fabregas and he maintained a 87% pass success rate while at Barcelona. Add the signing of Luis Suarez and all of a sudden Arsenal appear a very dangerous side.
Wenger would have to make some tactical adjustments to accommodate Fabregas, but would surely be willing. While Arteta had a very good season for Arsenal, if Wilshere and Fabregas were fit he would have to be dropped to the bench.
While Barcelona seem adamant that they won't lose their man, Fabregas needs to be playing first-team football. While Fabregas is an excellent midfielder, you need to be more than excellent to replace Xavi at the heart of the Barcelona midfield. The World Cup is next year which may mean Fabregas needs to leave to ensure his place on the plane to Brazil.
Even if United have a bid accepted for Fabregas, Arsenal will be in the driving seat as they will have first refusal. It would have to come down to Fabregas rejecting Arsenal for United if they are to get their man.
If Fabregas were to sign for United, the Red Devils would instantly become my favourites for the title next year.
However, if Arsenal were to sign him and a world-class forward then the Premier League would be at its highest level of competition in years. If we do indeed see the Spaniard back in the Premier League next year, he may well have a decisive say in where it ends up.
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