Vilanova: Cesc wants to stay
David Moyes has suffered a blow to his Manchester United rebuilding plans after Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova claimed Cesc Fabregas has no intention of leaving the Nou Camp.
Whilst there were indications that Moyes' interest in Thiago Alcantara had cooled before the Spain Under-21 star elected to join Bayern Munich, the same claim cannot be made of Fabregas.
When United made their £26million bid on Monday it was assumed Moyes had been given an indication he had a chance of landing a player who would undoubtedly strengthen his squad. Speaking on Tuesday, though, Vilanova could not have been clearer in his rebuttal.
"I'm aware there have been offers. I had a conversation with him and he told me that he wanted to continue here and that he didn't want to go to another big club," said the Barca chief. "He wants to succeed here."
The stance would be no surprise given how keen the 26-year-old was to return to the club of his youth two years ago. However, it leaves Moyes in the tricky situation of deciding whether to back off or push the situation further with no guarantee of success.
With United privately distancing themselves from claims Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay is on the brink of becoming Moyes' first signing and PSV Eindhoven midfielder Kevin Strootman bound for Serie A outfit Roma, still fans wait for the significant signing they felt sure would have been made by now.
It is anticipated a move for Everton's Marouane Fellaini will eventually come amid suggestions the Belgian would prefer to link up with his former boss at Old Trafford than join Arsenal. Such is Moyes' knowledge of the Fellaini situation, completing the transfer should be no problem if it gets activated.
This summer especially though, nothing can be taken for granted.
In the meantime, Moyes is continuing to push his players through a punishing series of training sessions, making the most of the state-of-the-art facilities available to them during their week-long stay in Sydney.
They have been granted some time off on Wednesday though, with some opting to play golf and others, including Ryan Giggs, heading to the ANZ Stadium - where United meet the A League All Stars on Saturday - for the State of Origin decider between New South Wales and Queensland which, like the weekend encounter, is an 83,500 sell-out.
By Thursday it will be back out on the training field at Kogarah Oval though, with fitness coach Tony Strudwick already looking ahead to that demanding opening run of five fixtures.
"This is the most important part," Strudwick told MUTV. "Most of the players have been away and we need to get them up to speed pretty quickly.
"We always have a heavy presence of fitness and sports science staff in pre-season because the players have to hit the ground running, particularly given the start we have this season."