The Red Devils are weighing up a bid to meet the Everton star's release clause, having lost heart in their pursuit of the Barcelona midfielderEXCLUSIVE
By Paul Clennam
Manchester United are set to turn their attentions to Marouane Fellaini as their hopes of luring Cesc Fabregas away from Barcelona continue to fade.
The Premier League champions are considering a move to trigger the Everton star's €25.5 million release clause, with Fabregas continuing to look likely to remain a Camp Nou player ahead of talks with coach Gerardo Martino.
Fellaini, who was seen dining at Rio Ferdinand's Rosso restaurant in Manchester over the weekend, will see his release clause increase on August 1 and, as such, United are quickly readying an offer.
Sources close to the club have also indicated that new boss David Moyes is considering a move for Fellaini's team-mate Leighton Baines in what would be a double raid on his former employers. The left-back, who was targeted by Sir Alex Ferguson last summer, is understood to be available for between €17.5m and €23.3m.
The Belgian currently earns €87,000-a-week at Goodison Park and Old Trafford officials are willing to sanction a salary package upwards of that if they submit a bid for his signature.
Moyes, who brought the former Standard Liege star to the Premier League in 2008, is keen to bolster his central-midfield options, with Paul Scholes having retired and Darren Fletcher's ongoing recovery from illness.
United are understood to be losing heart in their pursuit of Fabregas, who emerged as the the club's top summer target after they missed out on Thiago Alcantara, who joined Bayern Munich earlier in July.
Barcelona officials have long insisted that the former Arsenal captain is not for sale this summer, despite repeated and public enquiries from United.
Fellaini is seen as a cheaper alternative in central midfield, and hinted that he would be open to following his former boss to the Premier League champions in May.
"I only want to go to a club where the manager really wants me," said the 25-year-old. "In 2008, Everton did everything to convince me, especially David Moyes. He made me the player I am now."
The Toffees star has impressed United in recent years, scoring twice in his last three games against the Old Trafford side.