So Spanish playmaker, Thiago Alcantara has made his move from Barcelona to German Champions and current European Cup winners, Bayern Munich for a reported figure of £21.6 million – a shade over his release clause.
The 22 year old today had his final training session at Barcelona and will link up with former boss and compatriot Pep Guardiola at Bayern should he pass his medical. The move brings an end to one of the longest running transfer sagas of the summer; for weeks now Thiago has been rumoured to swap Camp Nou for Old Trafford and join the David Moyes regime at Manchester United. However Bayern Munich, and new boss, Guardiola scuppered any potential deal by stating it was Thiago and Thiago alone that was wanted at the Allianz Arena. Thiago, in due course, made the decision to head to Germany over England.
This marks the end of one pursuit for a highly regarded player; but inevitably asks more questions about the current state of Manchester United. Thiago has joined a string of high profile players that have opted to ply their trade elsewhere; remember the Lucas Moura deal last year? The Brazilian ultimately favoured a move to Paris St. Germain, leaving Manchester United to look to Paul Scholes to replace Paul Scholes.
It’s far from a crisis at Manchester United right now, but it certainly isn’t comfortable. David Moyes has taken over from Sir Alex Ferguson; as good as Moyes is, those are some daunting footsteps to follow in. Wayne Rooney is once again proving himself to be bigger than the club, albeit not to the extent of the 2010 debacle, but it’s not the greatest situation to have to deal with and finally, there is still the need to replace Paul Scholes. I personally don’t see Scholes coming out of retirement for a second time – so a replacement is imperative.
Where else can David Moyes look? There is the Real Madrid duo of Luka Modric and Kaka; the latter has fallen down the pecking order in world footballer let alone at Real Madrid, while he is, undoubtedly, a class act, age is not on his side at 31. Modric on the other hand was linked with United before he moved to Madrid from Spurs two years ago, and his time in Spain hasn’t been the most comfortable of rides, he could find himself back in the Premiership sooner rather than later. There is Claudio Marchisio of Juventus who has also been linked, although he is not in the same mold as Modric or Thiago he could still do a job in midfield. Then there is also the option of Cesc Fabregas at Barcelona, his return hasn’t gone exactly to plan as he is still trying to win some fans over, this coupled with lack of playing time could lead to him making a return to the Premier League. However, would United fans welcome him with open arms? One remembers a certain incident involving a slice of pizza.
[please note this article was written before the news of United's £25 million bid for Fabregas that was made today].
Alongside these players, United could potentially look within their ranks. Tom Cleverley, despite having a slow second half to the season last time out, showed flashes of brilliance. There is also the young Belgian, Adnan Januzaj who looked sharp and showed a great touch in the 1-0 defeat to Singha All Stars last week. The Manchester United youth team has brought many great players to the table, it could be time to look their once more. Finally, there is Shinji Kagawa, the Japanese international, showed glimpses of brilliance last season, including a hat trick against Norwich City, however with Rooney’s commitment up in the air, we could see the playmaker drift slightly up the pitch and play in the number 10 role, a position he has played in for Japan and his former club, Dortmund.
Despite it not looking perfect at the moment, United have shown resilience in the past, A couple of key signings should be enough to put the United contingent’s nerves at ease, however this lingering doubt needs to shift before it transcends from the terraces to the squad.
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This article was first posted on July 15, 2013