Manchester United will bid £35 million for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, according to a Sky Sports report citing unnamed sources. As ever, with any transfer news, many details and potential problems would have to be worked out before a deal could be completed. With that being said, if it does happen, the signing would represent a pressure-easing coup for new United manager David Moyes.
Let's not underestimate the obstacles, though. They could be formidable.
As Sky Sports reports, Cesc is keen to stay in Catalonia and is contracted to Barcelona until June 2016, per TransferMarkt. He came through the ranks of Barcelona's youth system and made a tearful return to the club two years ago after leaving Arsenal.
Then there's the Arsenal question. Multiple reports, including this 2011 item from the Telegraph, claim that Arsenal have first option on re-signing Cesc. In addition, the Gunners would receive 50 percent of the fee if Barcelona do sell.
Meanwhile, according to The Independent, the Gunners could lodge a £25 million bid for the midfielder after he endured a frustrating 2012-13 season at Barcelona.
In addition, Fabregas likely is not United's top target, as a separate article from The Independent suggests. Having missed out on Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara, who has signed instead with Bayern Munich, United are now turning to Fabregas.
Fabregas will likely know that, but it's unclear whether that would matter to him. What's more clear is that, as second choices go, Cesc is an outstanding one.
Thiago might have been United's first choice, but Cesc's previous experience in the Premier League might make him the better choice. The midfielder made more than 200 appearances for Arsenal from 2003 to 2011, ascending to captain before his departure. While last season was a frustrating one for Fabregas at Barca, he still managed 11 goals and 11 assists in league play.
Moving to United would probably mean more starts and playing time for Cesc, who would also reunite with former teammate Robin van Persie (another former Arsenal captain). For United, meanwhile, it would mean a marquee signing for Moyes as he begins the impossible task of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson as manager.
No matter how Moyes fares in his tenure at Old Trafford, he will almost certainly accomplish less than Ferguson. Signing a player like Fabregas, who has succeeded in the Premier League, would ease some of the pressure Moyes will inevitably face.
It would be a bold move, and a positive one at that. With Wayne Rooney's future uncertain, most of the recent transfer news surrounding United has struck a negative note. A successful move for Cesc would change all that.
United might have missed out on their first choice, but their second might turn into the better option anyway.