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Manchester United

Is Thiago Alcantra heading to Old Trafford?

According to the Daily Mail, Premier League leaders Manchester United are preparing to bring Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara to Old Trafford when the transfer window re-opens in July.

Today’s report suggests Sir Alex Ferguson has been monitoring the 21-year-old for a while and is ready to make a move in the summer as he looks to freshen up the United midfield.

The Red Devils offered £15m for his services 18 months ago, only for the Catalans to reject the bid. Thiago had been focused on establishing himself in the first XI of Barcelona.

However, the Spaniard has now realized that his best interests lie in quitting the club. He is apparently concerned about the lack of first team action he is being offered and is ready to leave the Nou Camp in search of regular starts as he looks to push his way into Vicente del Bosque’s national team set-up having not won a cap in over a year.

The Spanish international is considered one of the brightest talents in European football and has also been linked with a move to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, where he would be reunited with former coach Pep Guardiola.

Alcantara made his first-team debut for Barcelona against Mallorca in 2009 and scored his first goal the next year. He was signed for Barcelona as a 14-year-old after he moved to Spain at the age of 5.

In the 2011/12 season he got his definite breakthrough. During the summer he was an integral part of the Spanish U21 team who won the European Championship, and before the new league campaign had even kicked off he was given his debut for the senior team, in a friendly game against Italy. During the following season he featured in a total of 45 games for his club – 27 of those in La Liga.

This season however, he has only played 18 league matches, scoring once in total. Many of these games have only been appearances as a substitute. Hence the 21-year-old’s desire to leave the club.

There are many technically brilliant players out there, and the Barcelona squad is filled with them, but the 21-year-old sticks out in the way he carries himself on the pitch. In terms of pure and natural talent, there are not many better than him within their ranks.

As with many other technical players, his weakness lies in the physical side of the game. He is not particularly big, strong or quick, and although he makes up for it through sheer footballing ability the question mark revolves around how he would cope playing a different type of football, particularly in the Premier League.

Man United could well do with an added spark of creativity and Ferguson may be keen to freshen up a midfield that is perhaps a little too brittle. As far as Ferguson and United are concerned though, with Paul Scholes now definitely in the twilight of his remarkable career, Darren Fletcher battling an ongoing medical condition and Anderson likely to leave, the arrival of Alcantara would strengthen the team’s midfield.

Thiago is into his fifth season playing for the Barcelona first team but with only 35 La Liga starts during this time, the chance to re-ignite his career at Old Trafford may well be tempting for the Italian born playmaker.

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