Manchester United and Liverpool are both being linked with a surprise name ahead of the summer transfer window, as both Premier League sides eye recruits to improve their chances of success next season.
The Reds are on-course for a return to the Champions League next year and could be joined in the competition by arch-rivals Manchester United, who have two possible avenues to qualification as they continue to battle for success in the Europa League.
Having fallen short of battling Chelsea for the Premier League title this season though, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho are both expected to splash the cash heavily this summer in order to build a side capable of battling on all fronts- and that’s led to surprise links.
The Daily Star states that Liverpool have joined United in the battle for Chelsea’s World Cup winning midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who is linked with an exit from Stamford Bridge three-years after returning to English football from Barcelona.
Fabregas has been a bit-part member of Antonio Conte’s side this season and is expected to move on in the summer, particularly amidst rumours that Chelsea’s Italian boss is looking to strengthen his midfield depth with new recruits.
Would Chelsea sell?
The biggest question concerning the links between Fabregas and both Premier League sides is whether Chelsea would approve a sale to direct rivals, as the Spaniard is still one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and a decision to offload him could come back to haunt Chelsea.
Chelsea want to recoup the majority of the £27m they paid for Fabregas, who turns 30 tomorrow, and that fee is affordable for both Premier League sides. However, it’s difficult to imagine Roman Abramovich sanctioning such a big sale to a rival club.
Conte’s side would certainly prefer to sell abroad but they may have difficulty doing so, as it’s unlikely Fabregas would return to Spain after a disappointing few years with Barcelona and has limited suitors elsewhere.
What about Italy?
Both AC Milan and Inter Milan have long been linked with Fabregas’ signature and the two San Siro sides have cash to spend this summer following their recent takeovers. However, The London Evening Standard reports he’s not interested in moving to Italy.
Fabregas is likely to seek opportunities in the Champions League as he looks to establish himself in the pecking order for Julen Lopetgui’s Spain squad for the World Cup next summer and neither Inter or their cross-city rivals will be able to offer that opportunity.
That means Fabregas is likely to reject any offers from China, should they emerge, and he’ll prefer a stay in the Premier League- which could lead United or Liverpool to have to pay over the odds to sign the experienced Spaniard.