Manchester United believe they can prise Cesc Fabregas away from Barcelona.

Although the initial response to United's £26million bid for Fabregas was negative, manager David Moyes would not have sanctioned the move if he felt there was little chance of success.

With Everton's Marouane Fellaini also on Moyes' radar, it explains why he was so bullish in the wake of Thiago Alcantara's decision to snub the Red Devils in favour of linking up with former boss Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.

Fabregas has made 96 appearances in two seasons after returning to Barcelona, the club of his youth, from Arsenal.

"The player is not transferable," a Barcelona source said.

Such words are not always the signal that a transfer is impossible.

Like Thiago, Fabregas may conclude he is better placed to fulfil his international ambitions away from the Nou Camp.

Yet surely Barca would prefer to keep Fabregas in the wake of Thiago's exit despite the presence of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and £50million new-boy Neymar.

However, instead of being a peripheral figure, given the state of United's midfield, Fabregas would be one of the key men at Old Trafford.

United have lost Paul Scholes to retirement, whilst there are continuing doubts over the career of Darren Fletcher and a belief amongst fans Brazilian Anderson will never fulfil the promise that earned him a big-money move from Porto in 2007.

Moyes has already confirmed he requires additional competition for Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley.

And the side issue would be that because he has featured in the advanced 'false nine' role, Fabregas' presence would raise a further question mark over Wayne Rooney's status with the Old Trafford outfit.

The development adds a bit of extra spice to the second leg of United's pre-season tour in Sydney.

After Saturday's surprise defeat in Bangkok, Robin van Persie and David de Gea have arrived to bolster Moyes' squad.

Van Persie is particularly important given Danny Welbeck is the only orthodox frontman on the trip.

However, De Gea will be looking to build on an outstanding second season at Old Trafford, which led to him being voted on to the PFA Premier League team of the year.

"He came on leaps and bounds in the second part of the season," said former Red Devils skipper Bryan Robson.

"He has matured, put a stone on in weight and strengthened up.

"He knows what the Premier League is all about now and I can only see him improving as he goes along."