Transfer news: Starring role for Barcelona sees Cesc Fabregas put further dent in Manchester United interest

United had hoped any absence from the first team would change his desire to stay at the Nou Camp but midfielder played all 90 minutes in Gerado Martino's 7-0 competitive debut as Barcelona manager

Southampton broke their transfer record fee for the second time this summer after they confirmed the signing of Italian international Pablo Osvaldo, in a deal worth around £15m.

Fabregas was part of a three-man midfield alongside Xavi and Sergio Busquets, with Andres Iniesta coming off the bench to replace Lionel Messi for a 20-minute cameo appearance.

The former Arsenal captain put in a performance of the highest quality, finishing with three assists in a flying first half that saw the defending La Liga champions head in at the break with a six-goal advantage.

He will have been frustrated having not got on the scoresheet himself despite having two scoring opportunities, but he nonetheless played an integral role in Gerardo Martino’s first competitive game in charge at the Nou Camp.

Questions will remain over Fabregas’ place in the first team though until the club face Atletico Madrid in the two-legged Spanish Super cup for the first piece of silverware available this season, while the Catalan club also face a tough run of league games against Malaga and Valencia surrounding the Atletico matches.

It is Fabregas’ absence from key games last season that led him to consider his future with his childhood club as well as alert United that they could tempt him into a Premier League return by offering him an integral role in the heart of their midfield.

But the 26-year-old declared his happiness at his current club, leading United to pursue other avenues in their attempts to strengthen before the transfer window shut in two weeks’ time.

Manager David Moyes was keen to keep an eye on the Fabregas situation though, in the hope that his absence from the starting line-up would lead him to change his mind on where his future lies and push for a move to Old Trafford.

But if the victory over Levante is anything to go by, Fabregas will be an integral cog in ‘Tata’s’ Barcelona side as he looks to pick up where Tito Vilanova left off.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own