There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks about Cesc Fabresgas joining Manchester United this summer from FC Barcelona. According to Sky Sports Spain correspondent Guillem Balague, however, the 26-year-old will not be leaving the Catalan club this summer:
"[Fabregas] is surprised by the rumours that are so strong in England. The club has definitely told me this evening that they have got no intention whatsoever of selling him. His buyout clause, in case anybody is interested, is €200 million (£171m), which is a little bit expensive. In any case it is a deterrent for people to come and try to poach him away. If anything was going to happen it would be in the future, maybe next year, who knows, but what seems certain is that both the club and himself have decided he will stay at Barcelona for at least one more season."
It should also be noted that Arsenal are believed to have a right of first refusal on their former captain. In addition, there's speculation that the London club might have a 50% sell-on clause.
The move for Cesc back to his boyhood club hasn't quite gone as he would have hoped. He's undoubtedly a tremendously talented footballer, however, he hasn't quite found a proper fit at Camp Nou. Here's how his time at Barcelona was initially described by TBB when the initial rumors popped up a few weeks back:
"The Spaniard has played the incisive role in a midfield trio (the result being that the brilliant Andres Iniesta is pushed out wide in attack), up front as the falsest No.9 ever, and in the tempo-setting Xavi role when the legendary midfielder was in need of rest or injured. However, he hasn't convinced in any of these roles."
TBB also questioned where Cesc might fit in at United -- would it be as a No.10?:
"At Arsenal, Cesc arguably developed into a world-class player for a time-being in the No.10 role in a 4-2-3-1 and as the most advanced midfielder in a 4-3-3. United [,though,] currently have a talented 24-year-old playmaker in Shinji Kagawa while former talisman Wayne Rooney is an option as a No.10 (for now) as well."
Or would it be deeper in midfield?:
"Perhaps Cesc could drop into a deeper role in midfield alongside Michael Carrick, the current stalwart of the United engine room. However, this combination would be prone to being run over. Even if the combative Phil Jones were to partner Cesc in a two-man midfield, neither has the positonal awareness to stay deep enough and compact with the back four."
From a United perspective, it probably would be best if Cesc didn't move to England this summer: not to United because the resources it would require to obtain his services could be more prudently used on other players that would fit in better (like Thiago Alcantara!) -- and not to Arsenal because that would undoubtedly strengthen them.