The consensus in the English media is that Premier League champions Manchester United have lacked a world class midfielder for several years now. That is despite United reaching three Champions League Finals and winning four Premier League titles in the last six years.
The focus this summer on who will fill the gap in the United midfield is divided between two Barcelona’s players; Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara. Neither of them have been able to hold down a regular spot in the Barcelona line-up and one, if not both of them, are interested in leaving the Camp Nou.
Fabregas is the bigger star of the two. The former Arsenal captain brings with him passing ability, vision and the experience and knowledge of the Premier League from his eight years at Arsenal.
Cesc has not hit the heights at Barcelona that he hit for Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger puts that down to not playing every week:
“I think at the moment he’s lacking the confidence of being a regular player – recently he has not been that. Cesc is such a passionate player, a player of such quality, that it must hurt him not to play in every single game. That’s what he misses. When you come in and out you never play with full confidence.”
Barcelona only signed Fabregas from Arsenal two years ago, and it seems very unlikely that they will give up on him so soon.
Thiago is a rising star, but is not as polished yet as Fabregas. He starred in Spain’s win at the 2011 European Under-21 Championship, and is one of the best players at this year’s tournament.
Thiago is signed until 2015 with Barcelona, but his buy-out clause has been reduced to €18m from €30m for a limited period due to his lack of playing time last season.
Both players would fit into David Moyes’s system at Old Trafford. At €18m, Thiago is a steal in today’s market. He is not the finished product like Cesc, but he has the potential to be just as good.
Fabregas would be a great signing also. His arrival would depend on his price. At £25m, a price often quoted, he is a steal. At closer to £50m he is overpriced.
Which one of the two Barcelona players do you think United should sign?