Manchester United concede defeat in Cesc Fabregas pursuit
Manchester United have diplomatically declared that they would "respect" Cesc Fabregas's comments about wanting to stay at Barcelona – a graceful departure from the arena that appears to keep their options open for the future.
The 26-year-old midfielder said it "never went through my head not to continue here" and that he had a "clean conscience" about not having "cheated anyone" by courting other clubs this summer.
United certainly felt they had a chance of signing Fabregas, however, and would not have publicly confirmed bids had his camp not made them feel there was a possibility of success. The view from Old Trafford was that Neymar's arrival, nudging Fabregas down the pecking order, created an opportunity.
Fabregas has benefited from the profile United's interest delivered. At a time when he harboured insecurity about his position at the club, his image has been enhanced by an elite side's interest, with coaches at the Nou Camp as well as president Sandro Rosell publicly stating their desire that he would stay. The United speculation has forced them to do that. The most significant comment of the summer came when Fabregas declared that, while he wanted to stay, "if the club think otherwise then it would change things".
Latest in Sport
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile