Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has reiterated his stance that Cesc Fabregas will not be leaving the club in the wake of reports that Manchester United are considering a third bid for the midfielder.
United manager David Moyes is yet to bring in a significant signing, with some fans worried that they may miss out in this transfer window having already seen Thiago Alcantara turn down a move to Old Trafford in favour of Bayern Munich and his former boss Pep Guardiola.
The Red Devils are believed to be preparing a final £35m offer for the 26-year-old, who scored twice in the 8-0 demolition of Brazilian club Santos in the Gamper Tournament on Friday night.
‘Tata’, as Martino is affectionately known, spoke after the game on Fabregas’ future, and he went as far as to confirm that Fabregas will be at the Nou Camp come the closure of the summer transfer window.
“I would prefer that Cesc stays with us,” said Martino. “In fact I'll be bold enough to say that he is going to stay. This isn't me being over-confident just what I hope will happen.”
First half goals from Alexis Sanchez, Pedro and Lionel Messi put Barcelona in the ascendency while a Leo own goal continued the scoring in the second half. Wing-back-turned midfielder Adriano and Jean Marie Dongou completed the rout along with Fabregas’ double in the match against new signing Neymar’s former club.
Moyes’ United side play Real Betis in a behind closed doors friendly later today, with Wayne Rooney expected to feature in his comeback from a thigh injury.
The England striker’s future remains unclear with Chelsea still interested in signing him after he became unhappy with life at United towards the back-end of last season.
His preferred destination is to stay in the Premier League rather than move his family abroad, nut United remain determined not to sell the 27-year-old after nine seasons with the club.
Barcelona meanwhile are still looking to bring in a defender, with interest in Chelsea’s David Luiz and Liverpool’s Daniel Agger expected to intensify in the coming days as they look to strengthen their La Liga winning side.
There are doubts over the long-term fitness of aging club captain Carlos Puyol, and they were also without centre-backs Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano during spells of last season through either injury or suspension.
Having let Marc Muniesa move to Stoke, they remain with just Marc Bartra as cover for the central defensive position, and the addition of a commanding, experienced centre-back like Luiz or Agger would boost their already huge chances of retaining the Primera Division title this season.