OSAKA, Japan (AFP) – Manchester United boss David Moyes said Thursday the English champions' attempts to sign Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas remained alive after reports said two earlier bids had failed.
Moyes, who was appointed as Alex Ferguson's successor at the end of last season, tabled an initial offer of 25 million pounds ($38 million, 29 million euros), later upping the ante to 30 million pounds, British reports said.
Asked about any progress in United's talks with Barcelona on Spanish international midfielder Fabregas, Moyes simply said: "Ongoing".
Moyes is keen to sign the creative midfielder but reports from Spain suggest Barca will not make a decision on Fabregas until they appoint a successor to cancer-stricken coach Tito Vilanova,
Moyes also said Robin van Persie, who pulled out of United's last match on their Asian tour with a thigh-injury, was expected to play against Cerezo Osaka on Friday despite being absent from training.
Injured striker Wayne Rooney is on the mend, he added.
"Wayne is running, probably at the level where we thought he would be just now and he'll pick up his work again," he said.
Disaffected Rooney's withdrawal from the Red Devils' pre-season Asian tour with a minor hamstring injury has heightened speculation that a move away from Manchester United is imminent.
Rooney has been linked to rival club Chelsea, but United have made it clear they are not interested in selling him -- going so far as to post an eye-catching billboard on their Twitter account that announced his return for a friendly against Swedish side AIK Fotball on August 6.
United's second friendly in Japan comes on the heels of their 3-2 loss to Yokohama Marinos on Tuesday.
It was the Red Devils' second loss in three matches so far in their Asian tour which will wind up with a game in Hong Kong next Monday.
United's Japanese star Shinji Kagawa meanwhile looked forward to a return to the club where he began his career.
"Tomorrow, I will play against the side which helped me grow up and sent me to the world," the 24-year-old said. "I will give all I have as I know their supporters and coach are excited about it."
"I want to work hard and produce results in an effort to impress," said Kagawa, who had a disappointing first season with United scoring just six goals in 20 league matches.