Arsenal and Manchester United are poised to engage in a transfer tug-of-war over Cesc Fabregas who looks increasingly likely to be leaving Barcelona this summer.
The 26-year-old has largely been a fringe player subsequent to returning to his boyhood club from Arsenal in a £25million deal two years ago, and the recent arrival of Brazilian Neymar will make it even tougher for Fabregas to establish himself as a regular in Tito Vilanova’s starting XI next season.
Reports suggest that Cesc would ideally prefer to remain at the Camp Nou, but unless Vilanova can offer concrete reassurance that he will be a regular fixture in the Blaugrana midfield a switch back to the Premier League is on the cards, with Sky Bet going 13/8 about the midfielder joining United, and 15/8 that he will return to the Emirates.
It will be extremely intriguing to see how this transfer story unfolds. On the one hand, re-joining the Gunners is logical, not least because the north London club have a buy-back clause – believed to be around the £25million mark – offering them first refusal on Fabregas’ next move. It would all make perfect sense.
Conversely, knowing that both Arsenal and the Red Devils are interested, Barca will probably capitalise on the situation and start a bidding war between the two Premiership giants. And it’s rumoured that the English champions would be willing to fork out as much as £40million to secure the Spaniard’s services, a figure that Wenger is likely to wince at.
Furthermore, in addition to joining the title holders and greatly enhancing his prospects of claiming winners’ medals next season, if Fabregas heads to Old Trafford he will also be linking up with former Arsenal team-mate Robin van Persie who evidently relished his first season at the Theatre of Dreams last term.
For newly appointed United boss David Moyes enticing the Spanish international to the north of England would be a big coup as he seeks to freshen up the squad. Fabregas would be the ideal replacement for Paul Scholes in the middle of the park, and Arsenal’s resolve will be pushed to its limits if the club becomes embroiled in a head-to-head with the Manchester outfit in a bid to sign the midfield maestro.
Ultimately, it’s likely to boil down to whether Fabregas’ heart rules his head or vice-versa. Indeed, his heart would lead him back to the Emirates, while his head would presumably divert him to Old Trafford.
It will be fascinating to see whether love conquers all or the allure of silverware proves irresistible for Cesc.