Despite a recent claim by The Express that Liverpool are interested in paying £25-30M for a 29-year-old Cesc Fabregas who has a year left in his current deal and is a player who would look a horrible fit for Jürgen Klopp's geggenpress even were he in his prime, that isn't the case.
At least according to The Liverpool Echo. And given The Echo have journalists with ties to the club while The Express do not with the reliable Paul Joyce having moved to the Times and taken his sources with him, it seems safe to take this news at face value and as above the board.
Plus there's the whole common sense angle and that the idea of Liverpool splashing up to £30M on Fabregas for their midfield when it's been widely and reliably circulated that their first choice target there is and remains Naby Keita never actually passed the smell test to begin with.
This was a rotten, stinking rumour from the moment it was floated, and if there is any reality to it—that is, if it isn't just a flight of fancy by The Express—then it's because somebody else is feeding them information. While they may lack any solid Liverpool insight, this is at least plausible.
The question to ask, then, is who. Manchester United are the other club they have claimed is interested in Fabregas, but even if they are, it would make little sense for them to leak that Liverpool were competing with them for the Spaniard, even to set up a chance to "beat" their rivals.
No, in the land of transfer rumours, those rumours can be safely said to always come from one of the clubs involved or from the player and his agent—assuming they aren't constructed out of whole cloth. Which in this case leaves the player or his agent hard at work trying to find a new home.
Fabregas has just a year left to go in his current deal, which runs out in the summer of 2019, and so either a new contract with Chelsea or a lucrative move elsewhere are on the cards. And with his playing time declining at Chelsea, elsewhere is where the money would be for him.
Fabregas has made 25 Premier League appearances this season, which isn't a bad total on the surface. However, he's only played 1,047 league minutes—for an average of 42 minutes per appearance. Those are the appearance numbers of a highly valued substitute and not a nailed-on starter.
It's reasonable, then, for the 29-year-old to be looking elsewhere in search of both playing time and one big final payday, and if those are the two goals, nobody outside of the Premier League is likely to do. Neither, it's probably safe to say, would an Arsenal return. That doesn't leave many options.
Maybe Manchester United are genuinely interested in signing Fabregas and his agent is trying to force their hand. Or maybe they aren't and he's just putting his client's name out into the world, highlighting the fact that he will likely be moving on and trying to drum up interest.
Either way, it's blessedly clear at this point that Liverpool aren't interested. And whether or not Manchester United are, it seems just as clear where the rumours are coming from in this case and, generally, what purpose it is that they're meant to serve.