Despite Manchester United’s rampant activity this summer, United still haven’t addressed the pressing need of finding a central midfielder to replace Paul Scholes. They are currently embroiled in transfer sagas over immediate replacements like Wesley Sneijder, Luka Modric and Samir Nasri. However, the Daily Mirror has recently reported that Sir Alex is making an audacious move to address the future in Barcelona and Spain sensation, Thiago Alcantara.
The twenty year old central midfielder, whose form reminds many of Andres Iniesta, has become one of the biggest young talents in Europe. His impressive form in the U21 UEFA European Championship for Spain has turned heads to recognize his growing status as potentially one of the best midfielders in the world. Sir Alex seems to be a great admirer of Alcantara as he has made the biggest offer Barcelona has received yet at €15 million.
Barcelona and Pep Guardiola may now have a problem trying to keep hold of Alcantara. While Guardiola would certainly want to keep him for the years ahead, Alcantara looks unlikely to have much of a role on the senior squad in the immediate future. Barcelona is reluctant to sell one of their rising stars to a rival like Manchester United and would prefer to send him on loan to another Premier League club. Barcelona also wants to include a buy-back clause which Manchester United would certainly not agree to. The Catalan giants have even tried to include Alcantara in a deal for Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas but the Gunners have shown great resilience in not budging from their astronomical, original price of over €50 million.
From Manchester United’s perspective, it’s easy to understand why Sir Alex would go all out to sign Thiago Alcantara. For his age, Alcantara boasts superb technical skill when the ball is at his feet. His passing, dribbling, creativity and first touch are simply sensational for his age. He shows great energy throughout entire matches and under the right guidance, his talent will inevitably become world class. He also is a dead ball specialist in terms of free kicks which he proved after his stunning 45 yard free kick goal in the U21 European Championship final against Switzerland.
Fergie and his staff have always been lauded for their eye for the future in terms of signing young talented footballers. At Manchester United, Alcantara would need time transitioning to life both on and off the pitch in Manchester. He needs to gain more experience so it would be unfair to expect him to immediately improve Manchester United’s midfield. However, one of Sir Alex’s greatest gifts is managing deep squads and knowing how to properly allot matches to satisfy everyone on the roster. He is also one of the best at developing young talent over time which has been recently seen with the likes of the Da Silva twins, Chris Smalling and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. While Thiago wouldn’t be a regular starter, he could be a vital role player in the central midfield throughout the season. Alcantara would only get better under the tutelage of experienced veterans like Ryan Giggs and from coach Paul Scholes.
Interest in Thiago Alcantara is likely to grow now after his recent performances for Spain. Barcelona will resist the notion of selling him and their buy-back clause will turn off interested suitors. However, while Alcantara will want to play more, he’s going to have a limited role for at least next season. Alcantara may demand to be sold to another club like United where he could get more opportunity to play.
Trying to sign the Spanish international from Barcelona is going to be very difficult for Manchester United. However, Alcantara may want to go to a team where he is more immediately needed. There is no doubt that at Manchester United, Thiago Alcantara would be seen as the eventual replacement to Paul Scholes.