Manchester United were seemingly their own worst enemy in the chase for Thiago Alcantara, looking in pole position to secure his signature only to dawdle and allow Pep Guardiola to swoop and take him to Bayern Munich.
Cesc Fabregas is another name that has been on their hitlist for much of the summer, even if only as a plan B option, but the former Arsenal man now appears to be their number one target.
The good news is that Bayern are already maxed out when it comes to midfield options so they won’t be in competition again, but the bad news is that with Barcelona in no need to sell, they will struggle to negotiate any sort of discounted deal.
It is being reported that David Moyes is ready to table a bid of £35m for Fabregas and the outcome is that Man Utd have shortened to 6/4 to have signed the Spaniard by the closing of the summer transfer window.
Much could hinge on how important it is that Barcelona add a new defender to their ranks in the close season, as the consensus is that Thiago Silva is their preferred option, but they can’t afford PSG’s asking price.
This has led to speculation that Barcelona would try hard to sign the Brazilian next summer, but selling Fabregas would free up the funds to bring in Silva before the start of the next La Liga campaign.
Obviously, the Spanish champions would suddenly have a lack of central midfield options, despite this previously being the position where they looked over-allocated.
Alex Song would be the only notable back-up to Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, while Sergi Roberto could receive some game time after being promoted from the Barcelona B team following Thiago’s switch.
It remains a heavy odds-on price that Fabregas remains at the Nou Camp this summer, although the price has drifted slightly from 1/7 to 1/4 and Thiago’s move is only likely to have strengthened his cause to remain at Barcelona.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.