Former Manchester United defender Denis Irwin has said that the club "will move heaven and earth" to sign Cesc Fabregas this summer.
Irwin, speaking to the Sunday World, said: "Cesc Fabregas has zoomed up Manchester United’s transfer target list to the top position and the champions are going to move heaven and earth to get him.
"The Barcelona star wants out of the Nou Camp and United want him badly, so the deal should be done easily enough. Fabregas is just the sort of all-action midfield player United need if they are to make a run at next season’s Champions League."
Irwin didn't stop there, then going on to claim that Patrice Evra and Nani will depart the club this summer, before suggesting that Southampton's Luke Shaw was also a target. "I’ve also heard a word that the new manager might have Luke Shaw at the top of his list. The teenage Southampton full-back is the latest in a long line of prodigies from that club’s excellent youth system."
Obviously, this could all mean nothing. The club has a wide array of ex-players, some of whom are reliable members of the Alex Ferguson Echo Chamber (tm), which we can expect to continue to be widely used despite his retirement. Then there are the other loose cannons who are neither in the know or being briefed. Of the two, Irwin falls into the former camp, since he still works as an ambassador at Old Trafford. Although we should also point out that if he's been told to say it, that doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
The encouraging thing about this is that most of the rumours seem to be coming from United's end. If they'd been leaked from the Fabregas camp then it could be written off as contract wrangling, but that's not the case. It could equally be Irwin shifting some papers without having been told a thing by the club, but above all, the fact the news is coming from our end suggests this move is serious.