New Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino appears to have put an end to Manchester United’s interest in Cesc Fabregas after insisting the midfielder will remain with the club.
United have been knocked back with two bids of £25 million and £30 million for the Spain international but manager David Moyes described the Premier League champions’ interest as ongoing on Thursday.
However, at his official unveiling by the club on Friday, Martino underlined a firm desire to keep Fabregas in Catalonia, saying: "I'm not going to involve myself in the club's accounts, but considering the club has already rejected two offers, I would guess it will reject a third. In other words, Fabregas will remain here."
Martino’s words were backed up by Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who added: "It's logical that we've had offers for Fabregas because he is a quality player, but he is not for sale."
United boss Moyes responded in The Sun newspaper by stating the club will monitor the situation. He said: "We will look at what has been said and think about what to do. We will consider our options."
Martino, 50, succeeds Tito Vilanova, who stepped down last Friday to continue his battle with cancer. He has spent his 15-year managerial career in South America, coaching a host of Argentinian club sides, most recently Newell's Old Boys, plus the Paraguay national team, who he lead to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010 and the Copa America final in 2011.
Asked if he would be able to cope with the pressure of coaching Barca, Martino said he agreed with the last Argentinian coach to take charge of the Catalans, Cesar Luis Menotti, who once remarked "once you have coached in Argentina, everything else is much easier".
Martino said: "Coaching in Argentina is not easy, there are no comparisons between these countries, but we feel the same pressure. I don't have the career Menotti had so I am less qualified to say that, but I share his opinions."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.