All eyes are on Lisbon tonight, as Real play Atletico in the most anticipated Champion’s League final in years (and be sure to check La Liga Blog later for live reporting and updates at http://www.laligablog.com/2014/05/24/real-madrid-v-atletico-live/), but Louis Van Gaal is focused on the other side of the Iberian peninsula as he aims to capture both Cesc Fabregas and Xavi from Barcelona.
As yet, Van Gaal has been primarily linked with long standing targets Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller along with a handful of Dutch players. But I understand that his number one priority before next season is the signing of mercurial midfielder Fabregas.
Fabregas will bring a real touch of quality to the centre of the Manchester midfield, something the likes of Carrick, Fellaini and Cleverley sorely failed to do last season. He has both a fantastic passing vision and a great engine that can see him run for 90 minutes and more. Van Gaal sees Cesc as the perfect foil to feed Rooney and his new captain Robin Van Persie.
The main thing in Manchester United’s favour is that Fabregas is open to the move. He’s performed well overall for Barca this season, but feels that he’s been made a scapegoat for their potless season under Tata Martino. Behind the scenes, he’s hoping for, if not yet orchestrating, a second divorce from his boyhood club. With Gerard Deulofeu set to be given a chance next season, Cesc feels that the time is right to move on.
Whilst the lack of European football will turn off some big names, Fabregas can see the bigger picture. He knows that under Van Gaal changes will come on and off the pitch, and deems it highly unlikely that the Red Devils’ European hiatus will last more than a season.
Manchester United have money to burn and, with Uefa continuing to scrutinise transfer dealings at Camp Nou, Barca are all too willing to cash in. Expect a deal to be done as soon as the World Cup finishes.
Fabregas could be joined in the red shirt by Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez. Xavi is a veteran of over 700 appearances, but he still has a huge amount to offer. His experience and footballing brain is something that can;t be rivalled at Old Trafford.
Xavi has decided that it’s time to seek out one final challenge, and he wants to show his genius abroad. The English Premier League is the ideal base for him. Xavi feels that he could play a Steven Gerrard type role, contolling the game from deep. In this position he has a lot to offer for at least another 3 years. Xavi wouldn’t be content to leave Barcelona to be a susbstitute, but Van Gaal knows all about the maestro, as he managed him for the first two years of his career. He is set to offer Xavi a pivotal role, and the man from Terrassa is poised to accept.
It could be an exciting season ahead at Old Trafford, with Spanish flair being added to the Dutchman’s guile. But nothing will be as exciting as tonight’s Champions League final. Be sure to visit this blog tonight for up to the minute updates and analysis.