Manchester United Transfers: Best Alternatives to Cesc Fabregas
That familiar feeling has sunk in once more.
Manchester United fans, buoyed by the pursuit of a world-class player, have been forced to sit back and witness the club fall short of landing another major signing.
Cesc Fabregas is the one who got away this time, but fear not, new manager David Moyes has plenty of alternative options to pursue.
With less than a month left in the summer transfer window, can the new boss land an exciting substitute to the Spanish midfielder? Let's take a look at who might capture his interest.
Luka Modric, Real Madrid
The Croatian has long been linked with a move to Manchester United. The Red Devils' interest stretches back to Sir Alex Ferguson's era and a time where Modric had to choose between the Premier League's best or La Liga's finest.
His passing quality and control on the ball is needed at Old Trafford. With Paul Scholes now retired, Moyes is looking to strengthen in areas beyond defensive quality. Modric is the type of player who can provide United with time on the ball, open up vital space and usher a sense of authority over tight matches.
Alongside the likes of Michael Carrick and Shinji Kagawa, Modric's presence will also open up United to an interlinking style that would allow Moyes to ditch traditional wingers. Ferguson dabbled with this style during the 2012-13 season, suggesting United's future could usher in such tactics.
Geoffrey Kondogbia, Sevilla
Perhaps overlooked by many until Rio Ferdinand's testimonial, Sevilla's Geoffrey Kondogbia represents excellent value for money.
As reported by Jamie Sanderson of the Metro, the Spanish club has suggested he can head to Manchester United for £8.5 million. ESPN recently reported the youngster is in talks with various clubs, with Ben Jefferson of the Express suggesting Arsenal and Chelsea are leading the chase for the player's signature.
The defensive midfielder is not a like-for-like alternative to Fabregas, but his tackling ability and strength would be welcome at Old Trafford. He is a confident dribbler, backs himself to make difficult passes (as the testimonial crowd saw with the backheel inside his own box), and has plenty of improving to do before he reaches his potential.
United should absolutely strive to sign the French U-21 international. They lost a similar talent when Paul Pogba headed for Juventus, a player who would have slotted right in had he stayed. Kondogbia can do the same, even if he isn't the big-name signing many fans crave.
Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United
Yohan Cabaye's name continually gets flitted around with interest at the Theatre of Dreams.
Newcastle's all-action Frenchman has adapted to the Premier League brilliantly and represents another cheaper variation of the Fabregas-styled player. Cabaye also offers more bite in the tackle and is naturally tuned to sniff out defensive danger before bombing forward.
His set-pieces may benefit a United team that is regularly forced to let Robin van Persie take corners. The Dutchman really should be in the box, but his delivery remains the highest quality across the squad. Cabaye is blessed with the ability to beat the first man, something many in red do not possess.
James Dickenson of the Express reported Cabaye would stay at Newcastle before Manchester United's second bid for Fabregas failed. Could the situation change now Moyes has been forced to look elsewhere?
Marouane Fellaini, Everton
The most spoken about and obvious alternative to Fabregas is Marouane Fellaini.
Although a completely different style of player to United's primary target, his versatility and previous relationship with Moyes makes the Belgian an excellent fit for the champions. His height, ability to tackle, finishing prowess and aerial strength would add a sense of physicality to a midfield that is currently lightweight.
The Telegraph reports Fellaini is firmly on Moyes' radar after the Fabregas failure. The 25-year-old continues to improve and would certainly fit straight into the United lineup, especially if Wayne Rooney departs. Right now, United fans will be worried any interest in Fellaini signals the beginning of yet another fruitless transfer saga.
Which alternatives to Cesc Fabregas should Manchester United pursue? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to discuss it with me on Twitter: