Manchester United have remained mostly quiet during the current transfer window.
Aside from denying interest in selling Wayne Rooney, the Red Devils haven't really been prevalent in transfer talk since David Moyes officially took his post as the club's new manager.
The one player they have been connected to for quite some time is Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
After lodging bids of £26 million and £30 million for the former Arsenal star, United is reportedly lining up one final bid in hopes that Barcelona will change their tune about letting Fabregas go.
Although the first two bids have been rejected, the Red Devils are wise to submit one more formal offer to bring Fabregas to Old Trafford. After all, you can't be told no until you ask the question.
Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail is reporting that the United are preparing to smash their transfer record by offering Barca £35 million for the 26-year-old star.
The club's current record transfer was the £30.75 million paid for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
As reported by ESPN FC's Miguel Delaney, the Manchester Evening News claims that the English side could reach £40 million to help persuade the Catalan club to ease up on letting Fabregas return to the Premier League.
Those figures say two things. One, Moyes really wants Fabregas to bolster the center of his attack this year, and two, the club needs a Plan B to fully come to grips with the idea of losing Rooney to Chelsea.
Depending on how the situation with Rooney shakes out, United could need help in the middle of the field before the 2013-14 EPL season begins.
Moyes is counting on Rooney to provide depth, leadership and the usual spark he does as a goal scorer, but the 27-year-old Englishman is clearly unhappy with his current situation.
According to Simon Johnson of The Independent, Jose Mourinho's side is also lining up a third bid of—you guessed it—£40 million for Rooney. In layman's terms, United would get the money they spent on Fabregas right back in the form of a subsequent check from Chelsea for Rooney.
Like Rooney, Crafton's report claims that Fabregas will have to hand in an official transfer request to be granted a return to England.
Neither player appears poised to do so, but if the three-way connection of Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United all get something they want from Rooney and Fabregas changing sides, it's hard to see it not happening.
Especially with the amount of money involved.
Fabregas would be a great addition to the Red Devils next season. He's one of the better scorers in La Liga, still finishing with double-digit goals and assists for the La Liga champions despite playing a reduced role.
Not coincidentally, Rooney also had double-digit goals and assists for the Red Devils last year. Fabregas is a year younger and a talented player, so, if he wants to come to Old Trafford, the Spaniard would appear to be a player who would ease the loss of Rooney quite nicely.
All that's left now is Barcelona's approval—or disapproval. If United gets it, they might not care whether or not the fans give a warm reception to Rooney during the club's upcoming preseason matches.
According to John Edwards of Daily Mail, that reception is supposed to help Rooney make a decision on his future at Old Trafford.
Even in the world of football transfers, you never know until you try. In this case, the Red Devils won't know about Fabregas until they try a third time.
Manchester United might miss out on the Spanish star before the current transfer window closes, but they can take pride in knowing they were willing to go above and beyond the norm to land one of the top players in Europe. At the end of the day, they also have no obligation to sell Rooney.
If Fabregas doesn't work out, I wouldn't expect many to labor over Barca's rejection for long. Life is too short, and focusing on defending the EPL crown will be too important.
Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.