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David Moyes has launched a bid for Marouane Fellaini – signalling the end of Manchester United’s pursuit of Cesc Fabregas.

United boss Moyes has returned to Everton, the club he left for the champions last month, for the Belgium midfielder – who has had a £23.5million buy-out clause allowing him to move to a Champions League club this summer.

However, it is understood that United’s valuation is not as high as that, so the clubs could be set for a tussle over his services even though Moyes is desperate to strengthen his midfield.

Barcelona midfielder Fabregas had been Moyes’ No1 target, but the ex-Arsenal captain is due to publicly pledge his future to the Nou Camp on Thursday.

United have had two bids turned down and had been considering a third, but not only do Barca not want him to leave, the terms of Arsenal’s buy-back option means it would only be worth their while to sell for a fee of over £40m.

Moyes – who also lost out to Bayern Munich for Barca’s young midfielder Thiago Alcantra – knows Fellaini well, but also has respect for his former employers, whose left-back Leighton Baines is also on his hit-list.

New Everton boss Roberto Martinez will be determined to keep Fellaini, but the Belgian powerhouse wants to play in the Champions League – the reason that release clause was inserted in his latest contract.

Arsenal had also been keen on Fellaini but the asking price dissuaded manager Arsene Wenger from making a formal offer.

It is unlikely that Everton will sell at a reduced price and are determined to hold firm, but United have the finances and pulling power to tempt Fellaini away from Goodison.

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