Cesc Fabregas has told friends in English football that he wants to quit Barcelona for Manchester United.
The Spanish midfielder is the subject of a fierce battle between United and Barcelona, with the Barclays Premier League champions having had a bid in excess of £30million turned down.
United manager David Moyes on Thursday told a press conference in Japan that the club’s pursuit of the former Arsenal star was ‘ongoing’ and it is understood that another bid is imminent.
But the fact that Fabregas has told friends in England that he wants out of the Nou Camp could finally give United the impetus they need.
It is understood Fabregas is attracted by the promise of regular football at United and he is keen to link up again with one of his old Arsenal team-mates, United striker Robin van Persie.
Fabregas also believes he can win an English title with United to go with the one he won in Spain’s La Liga last season. The 26-year-old won only an FA Cup and Community Shield during his years with Arsenal.
Barcelona’s stance remains obdurate and they continue to tell United their midfielder is not for sale.
Lure: The prospect of linking up with Robin van Persie again is tempting FabregasIf Fabregas decides to ask for a transfer, however, that may change.
United are due to play their fourth tour match here on Friday, facing up to Cerezo Osaka at 11am English time.
Van Persie is expected to play some part after recovering from a tight thigh while Moyes also revealed that captain Nemanja Vidic — who has been suffering from sciatica — has started to play competitive football back home in England.
Moyes said: ‘There was a practice match at Carrington the other day.
‘Vidic, Nani and Antonio Valencia all had playing time in that. Wayne Rooney is also running and at the level we thought he’d be at. He’ll step that up this week.
‘Substituting Robin was a precaution the other night. I expect he and Danny Welbeck to both play the next match.
‘Michael Carrick had a tight groin and is doing better but probably won’t feature. He should resume training over the weekend.’
United have lost two matches and won one so far on their tour, with the latest defeat coming on Tuesday when a youthful side lost 3-2 to Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos.
Talented: Fabregas is among the finest midfielders in the world
‘We’re not used to training or playing in these conditions but I hope it will benefit us when we go back to England from playing in such warm conditions. We’re meaning to use all our players in the next game to make sure everybody doesn’t have to lose so much weight and fluid.’
Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, meanwhile, has claimed United were never serious about signing him. The 23-year-old, who moved to Bayern from Barcelona earlier this month, said: ‘In no moment did United come and talk to us. It came from the press, it was always a lie.’