According to today’s papers, Manchester United are in pole position to secure the services of Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who yesterday scored a hat-trick in the final of the European Under-21 Championships, leading his country to a second consecutive success in the tournament.
Thiago has been linked with a move to United for almost a month now, amid speculations that he’s open to leave the Nou Camp after growing frustrated at the lack of first team action but his performances with Spain U21 have seen his list of admirers growing considerably.
The Sun and the Telegraph follow up on the rumour that had emerged over the last couple of weeks, reporting that David Moyes, thought to be a long-time admirer of the 22-year-old midfielder, is set to offer Barcelona £15m to lure Thiago away from Catalonia.
The figure is somewhat puzzling, for it’s £4m short of Thiago’s release clause meaning United would almost surely have to met Barcelona’s £19m demand or else the deal runs the risk of turning into a saga lingering long into the summer, something United should avoid at all costs, for history shows that the club normally operates at its best when it manages to tie deals up shortly after the transfer window opens.
With David Moyes not set to take officially charge of the club for another 12 days, United could be wasting valuable time, even though the Scots is thought to be already operating behind the scenes.
The Mirror has an interesting take on Thiago, claiming that Barcelona could be willing to let the starlet go, to finance a move for Chelsea’s Juan Mata, whose pay-rise was allegedly blocked by Jose Mourinho.
“The Catalan side, who have already landed Brazilian prodigy Neymar in a £40m deal, are preparing to balance the books by selling Sanchez, Spurs target David Villa, forward Cristian Tello and midfielder Thiago Alcantara,” claims the tabloid.
A player who’s sure of not leaving Barcelona this summer, is Cesc Fabregas who has reiterated his desire to continue his career with the Spanish champions, as reported by the Guardian.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who earlier this month had been linked with a possible return to the Premier League, told Spanish telephone company Movistar: “People talk a lot but the truth is that no one has spoken with me. I want to triumph in Barcelona, that club is my home and I always dreamed of playing there, so I will try and succeed there as long as I can.”
Meanwhile, David De Gea has admitted his desire to be the best goalkeeper in the world. In an interview with the Mirror, the United number 1 said:
“I’ve grown a lot, I’m more experienced, I’ve played a lot of games for United and I’m sure of myself and confident.
“Of course, I’m very grateful for the effort they [United] made to buy me and for the support they gave me. First Atletico, then United trusted in me.
“Now my objective is to be right up there with the best players in the world. That’s what makes me excited, and I’m doing everything I can to achieve that.
“I’m playing at a very high level. I’ve had one year playing well but I’m still very young.
“I think that I still have a way to go before I reach the level of the best in the world.”
De Gea also paid tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson who, he claims, had a massive influence on his development.
“It will be very strange because Sir Alex spent 26 years at the same club, but this is football and all eras must come to an end,” said the Spaniard.
“We are delighted that David Moyes is the new coach as he has the same level of enthusiasm as Sir Alex.
“I am very proud to have had the privilege of working with Sir Alex, it was a real pleasure.
“He is the best coach of all time and working with him is something I will be able to tell my children and my grandchildren about.
“The best advice that he gave me was to simply give my all. He told me to continue with the same mentality I have always had.
“I owe a lot of my capabilities as a goalkeeper to him.”
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