Robin van Persie linked up with Manchester United for the Australia leg of their pre-season tour amid speculation of renewed interest in the Dutchman’s former Arsenal team-mate Cesc Fabregas.
Van Persie and David de Gea were excused the weekend defeat to Singha All Stars in Bangkok in order to give them maximum recovery time after their summer international commitments.
But both have now joined David Moyes’ squad for an intense week of training in Australia ahead of Saturday’s sell-out clash with an A-League All Stars outfit at ANZ Stadium.
However, it is the link with Fabregas that will intrigue United fans.
The club were said to be interested in the former Gunners’ skipper earlier in the summer, only to cool off when Fabregas stated his intention to stay at Barcelona.
Having missed out on another Barca midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, who has joined Bayern Munich, it is thought Moyes is now considering an inquiry about Fabregas, who like Thiago cannot be guaranteed a regular place in a Barca outfit that will be bolstered by Neymar’s arrival.
Moyes has now gone on record to say he is looking to strengthen his midfield and Fabregas fits the template for the type of player they need to operate alongside Michael Carrick.
Finance to back what would be a costly transfer would not be an issue if chief executive Ed Woodward is to be believed.
“We haven’t got money burning a hole in our pocket but we have got a strategy on player purchases and if David wants to go after a stellar player he can do that,” said Woodward over the weekend.
United have been linked with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney’s future has not been made much clearer by Woodward’s claim the Red Devils have no immediate plans to open contract negotiations with the currently injured England striker.
Rooney’s present £250,000-a-week deal expires in two years’ time and if the 27-year-old was to stay at Old Trafford, as the club insist he will, it was thought another would have to be agreed to prevent his value plummeting.
But Woodward has rejected that theory.
“There are no contract renewals that are being discussed. I am not sitting down with any player on an extension and there is no trigger date in the diary,” said Woodward.
“Would we be afraid to run a contract down? Of course not.”
Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia will not be in Australia as he has been given additional time off.