As the day of July turns into the night of August in preparedness for the new Premier League season, fans of the English top flight find themselves still waiting.
Waiting for the phony war of preseason friendlies, tours to here, there and everywhere to finish. Waiting for manager's to lay down a marker of exactly where they reckon their side will end the season in some 10 months' time. And waiting for that one big transfer from one of the title contenders which makes them go: "Ooooh, that could be a real difference maker."
Certainly there have been some interesting moves from some of the Premier League big boys. New Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has splashed the cash on four players—Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Fernandinho—all of whom come with good European experience and who will unquestionably strengthen his squad. Tottenham have added Brazilian midfield dynamo Paulinho, a Confederations Cup and Copa Libertadores winner these past 12 months. Chelsea have added young Dutchman Marco van Ginkel and German forward Andre Schuerrle.
On the other hand, somewhat conspicuous by their absences in terms of first-team signings have been Arsenal and Manchester United, who will basically be going again with the same on-field personnel as last season, United's purchase of Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha apart.
Therefore, there remains that lack of a move which entails a glaringly obvious star of world football. Edinson Cavani traded Napoli for Paris and was replaced in Naples by Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain, Neymar has made Barcelona his home, but the Premier League still awaits its first player who one may genuinely hail as arguably world class.
Certainly there appears some credence in the potential of Luis Suarez swapping Anfield for the Emirates Stadium, despite Brendan Rodgers, and others, questioning exactly why he would do such a thing; whether Arsenal are title contenders in 2013-14 is a question for another day. And Chelsea remain "calm" over their pursuit of Wayne Rooney according to Jose Mourinho, as reported by Dominic Fifield in The Guardian.
Yet the move, which could well enliven those at the top of the Premier League hierarchy this transfer window and be a real show of power from one club to its rivals, would certainly be the transfer of Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas to reigning champions United. Any such deal to prize the son of Catalunya back from the Camp Nou would somewhat change the landscape atop the Premier League.
Central midfield has been quite the quandary for Manchester United these past few seasons. Michael Carrick has been consistent and the sole constant. However, despite relative uncertainty in that area, still they won last season's title and were minutes away from doing likewise the season before.
Nonetheless, a summer of upheaval with regards to the management of both the playing staff and the day-to-day running of the club has played its part in United being reduced to third favourites for the championship, behind both Chelsea and Manchester City.
However, a move for Fabregas to Old Trafford, who according to Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail has told friends he would like to move to United, would mean a rethink of those odds and would both blow open the current transfer window.
A proven performer in the Premier League, his final two seasons with Arsenal yielded 18 goals and 24 assists in 52 matches, the 26-year-old World Cup winner is exactly the kind of talent and marquee signing that David Moyes needs to add buoyancy to his Old Trafford reign, while simultaneously answering those questions about his midfield.
But more than simply what he would do for the 20-time English champions, Fabregas' signature would also embolden United's title and Champions League-chasing rivals.
Chelsea's pursuit of Rooney would likely take a forward step, while Arsenal, with Ivan Gazidis practically imploring Arsene Wenger to spend money with his declarations of their budget, may have an increased urge to sign Suarez and potentially others if they're to make a title run.
Furthermore, who's to say that Manchester City, with the deep pockets of Sheikh Mansour at their disposal, don't decide that they need to one-up their city rivals?
Additionally, having seen the top-four make key acquisitions, both Liverpool and particularly Spurs—who still appear in desperate need of a striker—may be encouraged to spend big also.
Certainly, as July turns into August and as time ticks ever closer to the end of the transfer window, the transfer window will open up, be it with the pursuit of long-term targets being finalised or the dreaded late-window panic buys.
The move of Messr. Fabregas to Old Trafford may just crack that window open sooner rather than later.
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