Manchester United have made initial contact with Barcelona over a potential purchase of Cesc Fabregas, ESPN understands, as David Moyes has finally set out his main plans for a first transfer window as manager at Old Trafford.
Moyes has resolved to greatly reinforce the midfield, and United will look to make at the very least two signings in the area - possibly more.
At the top of the list of targets at present are Marouane Fellaini, Thiago Alcantara and, above all, Fabregas. Moyes also feels the need to make at least one "statement" signing, especially with the expected departure of Wayne Rooney.
United sources have confirmed to ESPN that there have already been discussions between the club and Barcelona over both Fabregas and Thiago. While the Catalans are willing to sanction the sale of Thiago to Old Trafford for around £18 million leaving the final decision over a move to the player, there is more uncertainty over Fabregas.
Barca are still deciding what to do next with a signing that has been a relative failure given the former Arsenal midfielder’s undeniable quality.
Fabregas is understood to be wavering over whether he wants a move. Although there is a willingness on both parts to eventually make his stay at Camp Nou work as a consequence of the obvious emotional connection between the 26-year-old and the Catalans, United are hoping to act on that doubt. It is felt at Old Trafford that a figure of over £25 million may tempt Barcelona.
Moyes would also be able to offer Fabregas the influential midfield role that he has failed to earn at Camp Nou, as Xavi continues to have such a strong impact.
Any deal may be complicated by Arsenal's reported first refusal on Fabregas, although United sources are confident that will not be an issue.
At this juncture, Thiago is seen as a much more likely signing for United, although he is said to still be unsure over both wages and whether a move to the Premier League is currently the best decision for his career.
United have also resurrected their interest in PSV Eindhoven's Kevin Strootman.
Moyes’ hand has been further forced by the close-season's exits, as well as the existing gaps in the United midfield from the 2012-13 season. Not only has Paul Scholes retired, it is anticipated that Anderson will leave, most likely to a Portuguese club.
United are also open to selling Nani, with Arsenal understood to be contemplating a £15 million bid.
Moyes as yet has no firm plans over what to do up front, or whether to reinforce at all. Although United were encouraged as recently as last week that a move for long-term target Robert Lewandowski may be possible, the events of the last few days have left them feeling much less confident.
Part of the problem has been that the Polish forward’s representatives have been looking to keep their options open, particularly with Borussia Dortmund so unwilling to sell to Lewandowski’s first choice of Bayern Munich.