Man United missed target XI: Fabregas staying put

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Manchester United’s frustrating summer has intensified after Barcelona claimed the Premier League champions have finally given up hope of signing Cesc Fabregas.

United failed with two bids for the former Arsenal man and while a third attempt was rumoured it now appears that Fabregas will join Thiago Alcantara on a list of stars spurning the Red Devils’ advances.

Despite their success and spending power, United do not always get things their own way and here we look at all-star United XI that could have been;

NEWXI

Joe Hart

United seem to have found a keeper worthy of replacing Edwin van der Sar in David de Gea but foresight could have found an equally good stopper and saved them £18.8m in the process.

Last year, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that he passed on the opportunity to sign England’s number one for just £100,000 from Shrewsbury.

Leighton Baines

Linked with United well before David Moyes left Goodison Park for Old Trafford it seems the managerial move itself has put paid to a deal for the defender.

Unhappy with the way United conducted themselves in recruiting Moyes, Everton have rebuffed a £12m bid for their man and reports claim only a mega-money bid would force their hand.

Tony Adams

As unlikely as it seems to picture Adams in a United shirt, Ferguson was a long-time admirer of the Arsenal lynchpin and tried to prize him away from Highbury.

Describing him as among the best, United’s manager admitted it would have taken “something special” to have made the deal a reality.

John Terry

Rumoured to be a boyhood United fan, Terry impressed Ferguson as a young midfielder but ultimately opted to head to Stamford Bridge where his defensive potential was recognised.

Having gone on to spend a record-breaking amount on Rio Ferdinand, United can view not signing Terry – who has played more than 500 times for Chelsea and captained England – as a huge missed opportunity.

Lilian Thuram

Not only did United fail to lure the Frenchman to Old Trafford in 2001, the defender claimed it was an “easy decision” to make.

United hoped to land the Parma ace with Juan Sebastian Veron for £37m but Thuram had other ideas and headed instead for Juventus, where he won two Scudettos and provided the backbone of the side that dominated the early 2000s.

Thiago Alcantara

United’s first order of business this summer after the Spain U21 had a fantastic European Championships.

The youngster was on the cusp of agreeing terms at Old Trafford but opted instead to join Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.

Paul Gascoigne

Perhaps the best-documented failure of Ferguson’s reign, Sir Alex has often voiced his dismay at failing to land the England man.

Ferguson went on holiday believing the deal to be done only to find that a number of incentives (including a car for his dad and a sunbed for his sister) had tempted Gazza to White Hart Lane.

Cesc Fabregas

Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale aside this is the will they/won’t they story of the summer so far.

United have bid £25m and £30m so far and despite Barca saying Fabregas’ own choice has a part to play the Catalans now believe the deal to be dead in the water.

Ronaldinho

United fans will point to the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo as compensation for not landing Ronaldinho but while that series of events proved fruitful in the end it highlighted United’s inability to attract a top name at the top of his game, with the Brazilian instead opting for Barcelona.

Alan Shearer

Shearer and United might regret this failure in equal parts as the 260-goal record scorer never managed to lift the title at boyhood club Newcastle.

However, Shearer is the only man on the list have turned Fergie down twice opting for Blackburn Rovers over United in 1992 and the Magpies in 1996.

Arjen Robben

Robben was given a tour of Old Trafford as United attempted to woo the PSV man and Ferguson later tabled a bid of around £7 million.

However they were told this would not even secure a signed shirt and ultimately lost out to Chelsea for a man who went on to win two Premier League titles, one La Liga crown and two Bundesliga trophies.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.