Cesc Fabregas' proposed return to the Premier League has taken another twist after it was revealed that Manchester United have outbid both Chelsea and Arsenal in pursuit of the Barcelona misfit.
Spanish newspaper Sport (h/t Metro) reports that the Red Devils have made an opening offer of £34 million for Fabregas, while Chelsea and Arsenal have bid £32 million and £29 million, respectively.
It may be considered a controversial move for new Barca boss Luis Enrique to sell Fabregas, but the tactician is quoted by Barca TV (h/t Goal.com's Kris Voakes) as giving a direct and to-the-point statement regarding how the side will be run under his command:
We are going to do it my way, no doubt about that, because otherwise the club would have employed a different coach. I am not going to do what everyone else might tell me.
I’m going to do what I think I have got to do and everything will be for the benefit of the club, and we’ll look to improve the team. Results will tell the tale of whether I got it right or whether I'm crazy.
Manager Louis van Gaal is currently occupied with his duties of guiding the Netherlands through their 2014 World Cup, but it hasn't stopped United from being linked with a plethora of top European talent in recent weeks.
Bleacher Report's Spanish expert Guillem Balague details that Barcelona are looking to sell Fabregas with a move for Atletico Madrid's Koke already in view:
Telegraph Sport (h/t BBC's Nick Sutton) says Chelsea are hoping to strike a £30 million deal for Fabregas' signature in order to fill the void that's soon to be left by the out-of-contract Frank Lampard:
James Riach of The Guardian confirmed on Monday that Lampard would be leaving Stamford Bridge when his deal with the club expires later this month after 13 years with the West London giants.
The Mirror's John Cross does add that while Arsenal do have a buyback option for the midfielder and must be informed of any offers that Barca receive for his services, Arsene Wenger's interest in a Fabregas return is minimal.
This would certainly work in Manchester United's favour as they attempt to land a player who was subject to interest last summer.
Ultimately, Marouane Fellaini was the only central-midfield asset brought in under David Moyes, but the Belgian has failed to sufficiently satiate the needs of the United engine room.
One would assume that the Reds' interest has Fabregas in mind to be primarily used in a deeper midfield role, given that Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney have already contested for the central attacking midfield slot in recent months.
Mata has been linked with an exit from Old Trafford despite only being signed in January, but Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke quotes team-mate David de Gea pleading with United boss Van Gaal to keep him at the club:
Fabregas missed only two La Liga matches in the 2013-14 season but featured for the full 90 minutes on just 13 occasions, per Squawka, and it would appear that La Blaugrana are ready to cash in.
He may not be considered among the club's biggest stars, but Fabregas still created 58 scoring chances for the club, second only to Lionel Messi.
The Metro report mentions that Fabregas is favourable of a pre-World Cup switch, but with just over a week to go until the Brazil-based tournament gets underway, it appears there may be a wait until any potential move can materialise.