It's always best to follow in the footsteps of a legendary manager with a loss in your first preseason match and a general failure to sign any key players, right? That's the situation David Moyes is looking at right now.
As I understand it, Ed [Woodward, executive vice-chairman] had a response [to the first offer].
We have made a second offer, but Ed is dealing with it rather than me.'
When you are interested in good players, you want to give it every opportunity to materialise.
I will hope things will continue to move forward. At this moment in time, I can only tell you that Ed Woodward is working hard to try and make the deals happen.
Fabregas would unquestionably be a great purchase for the Red Devils. They have lacked a creative presence in the centre of midfield for a few seasons now. With his time at Arsenal, Fabregas wouldn't need much transitioning to the Premier League, and he'd be able to reconnect with Robin van Persie.
The problem is that trying to buy Fabregas is a fruitless pursuit. After losing Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich, there's no way Barcelona will part with another central midfielder.
It's been a hectic summer at the Camp Nou. Barca won't make things worse by giving United the opportunity to snag Fabregas. Xavi is only getting older, and it's clear his time as a key player is dwindling.
I know he has received offers from other teams but Cesc has told me it is his dream to stay.
He doesn’t want to go to other teams for money or playing time.
He knows there is competition for places but he wants to stay.
Given the time Vilanova was forced to spend away from the club, seeing him leave permanently is unlikely to have much of an effect on the team. The Catalans can pick another manager who has experience with their system.
The Guardian's Sid Lowe reported Luis Enrique is an option, which would be a smart move and bring some stability to Barcelona, given Enrique's time as the Barca B coach.
Fabregas won't suddenly be banging on the door to leave the Camp Nou. He knows his current role in the squad will only grow as the years go on, and that's not going to change under new stewardship.
What has already been an ignominious summer for Moyes will only continue if he fails to halt trying to buy the player.
First, there was missing out on Thiago after the transfer looked only to be a formality. Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague reported that Moyes was not confident Thiago would make it in the Premier League.
United were willing to pay clause 4 Thiago. But Pep believed in Thiago. Moyes not so much (will his football work in PL? Moyes wasnt sure)— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) July 14, 2013
Then, there are the rumours, via Sky Sports, that continue to swirl regarding Wayne Rooney's departure. As a new manager, you don't want to constantly be answering questions about one of your biggest stars walking out the door.
Succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a difficult task for any manager. Almost nobody will mean to Manchester United what Ferguson did, so Moyes was always facing an uphill struggle there.
Jamie Jackson of The Guardian has reported Rooney is worried about Ferguson having too much influence on the side despite retiring. It doesn't matter what the reality is. If the perception is that Ferguson is still somewhat pulling the strings behind the scenes, Moyes will be further criticized and questioned by supporters.
There are already plenty of United supporters who wonder if Moyes is the right guy to pick up where Ferguson left off. By watching him miss out on yet another big-name target, the bullseye on his back will only grow larger.
While Manchester United's rivals are only strengthening, United are sitting back, having done next to nothing to improve their squad.
Moyes cannot really claim that Guillermo Varela was a signing of his doing, because the club has been tracking the full-back for a while now. United would have bought him no matter who the manager was. Plus, it's unlikely Varela will even manage to have much an impact on the first team next season.
United have still failed to address the midfield. By putting all of his eggs in the Fabregas basket, Moyes will watch all of his plans go up in flames and not have any sort of backup plan. He needs to start focusing on other players, otherwise it's going to be another summer of the Red Devils not bringing in key players.
It's nothing new for Manchester United in that regard, as they have often failed to make a lot of major purchases during transfer windows. Unlike Ferguson, Moyes cannot rely on his previous record at the club to ensure he's got the backing of the supporters.
His failure to sign players will be seen as a sign that he's not big enough for the job and doesn't have the kind of profile befitting a manager of Manchester United.