Despite having two bids immediately rejected by Barcelona, Manchester United manager David Moyes is not giving up in his quest to sign midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
Which begs the question, is Moyes being stubborn or just plain silly?
He’s stubborn (in the best way possible) if his efforts result in Barcelona selling Fabregas to United.
United’s first move for Fabregas on July 15 was for $38.2 million (£25m). Barcelona quickly rejected.
The second move for the midfielder made last week was understood to be in the region of $45.9 million (£30m) plus add-ons. Again, Barcelona rejected on knee-jerk.
It now appears that Moyes is ready to table a third bid that will likely be somewhere between $53.5 million to $61.1 million (£35m to £40m). If the Catalan giants accept that bid then United will have their man and Moyes’ efforts will be classified as persistent. United will have their man, albeit at a slightly inflated price.
But if Barcelona deny the upcoming offer, many may consider Moyes to be a silly man.
Not only will he have failed to acquire the player he targeted to shore up the United midfield but, after having already missed out in his primary midfield target Thiago Alcantara, he also will have further dented the clout that Manchester United has long possessed in the transfer market. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United’s transfer market power was unprecedented. If the club wanted a player, the club got that player – and typically at a favorable rate.
Moyes further risks looking campy because he continued to pursue the player despite the tea leaves appearing relatively straightforward.
After United’s first bid was rejected then Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova explained, “Cesc has told me he wants to stay here. He has told me it is his dream to stay with Barcelona. He doesn’t want to go to other teams for money reasons or playing time. He knows there is competition for places here, but his decision is to stay.”
Following United’s second second bid a Barcelona source said that “Fabregas is not for sale” and that “[t]he president [Sandro Rosell] has been very clear with Man United.”
In addition to the club’s stance, Barcelona center-back Gerard Pique said: “United are wasting their time. It took a long time for Cesc to get his dream move back home, and he won’t give it up. This is home, it is where his family is, and he is playing with his closest friends. He has told us he is happy, and that he intends to stay with Barcelona.”
Even Alex Song, who arguably suffers from less playing time because of Fabregas, expressed his disbelief at the Spaniard moving to Old Trafford. “I did not speak with him but I know Cesc is 100 per cent here. He loves Barcelona, he loves the club. He will stay here next season and give 100 per cent because I know him very well and he’ll want to fight. He’s focused on the club.”
Yet while all those quotes seem to indicate only one result, the reality is that they are circumstantial in nature.
We have not heard directly from Rosell that Barcelona refuse to Fabregas to Manchester United. And we have not heard directly from Fabregas that he refuses to move to Manchester United.
Until either of those things happen ‘sources’ will blab and teammates will pine but Moyes still stands a chance at coming out of this situation looking more stubborn than silly.