When Manchester United lost Thiago Alcantara, they lost their only chance to get a Barcelona midfielder this summer.
Bayern Munich managed to snap up the young midfielder this summer, per The Guardian. Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague speculated that David Moyes wasn't sure of how successful Thiago would be in the Premier League.
After watching Thiago slip through their grasp, United have reportedly made another run at Cesc Fabregas, per Sky Sports.
It's a deal that doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon. Manchester United would be much better off spending their time trying to buy a midfielder who is a much more realistic option.
The first problem is that Barcelona would be foolish to let Fabregas go.
After messing up with Thiago and not playing him enough, the Catalans left the player's future out of their hands. That was certainly a major problem. Everyone could see the player that Thiago could become, yet Barca quizzically decided not to feature him in the first-team squad.
Barcelona are not inept enough to let two talented midfielders walk out of the club in the same summer.
Since moving to the Camp Nou, things have not gone quite as well as Fabregas has hoped. He has yet to play the kind of key role that he did at Arsenal. That doesn't mean Fabregas is itching to get out, though. He's appeared in 60 league matches over the last two seasons, scoring 20 goals and adding 24 assists.
Barcelona were always the dream for Fabregas. Throughout all of his years at Arsenal, the Camp Nou was the place that presented the greatest allure. It would bring things full circle on his career after he spent his youth career in Spain.
It's unlikely he'll want to call time on that after what have been two pretty good seasons for just about any other player.
More importantly, there's the chain of succession for the club.
Fabregas is the heir apparent to Xavi. The plan for Barcelona all along was to have Xavi pass the torch to Fabregas. Then Fabregas would pass the torch to Thiago. Now that the last part of that plan is in tatters, Barcelona are going to do whatever it takes to hold on to Fabregas.
There's also the problem of Arsenal.
The Daily Mirror's John Cross had a nice breakdown of the deal between the Gunners and Barcelona back in 2011. Arsenal have a first-option clause on Fabregas, and should he go to a different club, they would receive half of the transfer fee.
If Fabregas does become available, it will be hard for United to beat Arsenal to his signature. Along with the first-option clause, Barcelona would be much more apt to complete a deal with the Gunners as it would mean not losing half of the transfer fee.
Central midfielder has long been a problem for Manchester United. They've lacked a creative option in the center of the pitch for years now. Summer transfer windows have come and gone, with Thiago, Luka Modric and Wesley Sneijder on the list of ones that got away.
By investing any time in Fabregas, the Red Devils would just be asking for more heartbreak.