After missing out on Thiago this weekend, Manchester United have turned their attention to another Barcelona midfielder in Cesc Fabregas with a reported £25m bid. Is the former Arsenal captain a player that United need though, and is it a likely transfer?
It has been made clear by both fans and pundits that Manchester United’s midfield is their weakest area as they lack goals and creativity from the middle of the park with only 17 goals and 24 assists last season.
Manchester United already have a creative player in Shinji Kagawa, but the Japanese International has seen himself played on the left wing on quite a few occasions last season rather than his favoured position behind the striker where he scored 21 goals and 10 assists in his final year at Dortmund. Despite playing on the left wing for Japan, this limited the impact that he had on games due to the different styles of play and roles he plays for club and country.
The purchase of Fabregas would see the lethal partnership of Fabregas and Van Persie re-united. Fabregas is capable of playing behind the striker, as shown by his time at Barcelona so this transfer would make a lot of sense. Could he be Wayne Rooney’s replacement?
As a creative midfielder Fabregas is able to operate in a slightly deeper role in midfield than Kagawa though, something that Manchester United have a lack of, so they wouldn’t be fighting for the same position in the side if David Moyes chose to play with a 4-2-3-1 next season. In this role at Arsenal, the Spaniard was a creative force as he ended his time in England with 100 assists in 7 years.
His last two seasons at Arsenal saw Fabregas achieve 13 and 11 assists in the league as he became the team’s key playmaker and focus of the majority of all attacking moves. In 2010/11, Fabregas completed 392 passes in the final third (71% completion rate) compared to Kagawa who this season managed 242 completed passes, but had a better pass completion rate of 85%.
Goal scoring has been an issue at times for Fabregas during his career with wasteful finishing that saw him only finish with 3 goals and a chance conversion rate of 6% in the 2010/2011 season. He has been able to improve on this area of his game in recent years however with a record of 57 goals in the last 4 seasons.
The player who Fabregas would accompany in midfield is Michael Carrick, who despite not scoring goals regularly offers a huge range of passing which saw him complete 2443 passes and creating 37 chances last season. The player who he would replace is Tom Cleverley, who played the defensive role in midfield last season but this would be given to Michael Carrick after the young midfielder made a tackle every 39 minutes compared Carrick’s record of a tackle every 37 minutes.
It is clear that midfield is an area that David Moyes needs to tinker with, and Cesc Fabregas would an ideal signing to help fix the worrying central midfield problems that have been an issue for Manchester United for the last few years. It is very questionable whether Fabregas would move back to England though after he stated his ambitions with his childhood club, nor would Barcelona accept a bid for a first team midfielder after the departure of Thiago.
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