Manchester United have been credited with interest in Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
According to Spanish daily newspaper Marca, an €18 million bid is under consideration as the Red Devils look to revamp that area of their squad and bolster the quality it possesses.
Per the report:
Manchester United are looking to Thiago Alcantara for next season. [The club] will not even have to enter into negotiations with Barcelona if it stumps up a figure of €18 million.
That is the total for the player's current buy-out clause. Thiago renewed his contract two seasons ago when his release fee was set at €90 million. This amount was reduced, however, to €18 million if he did not play a fixed number of games.
Thiago will be the first to tell you that this season hasn't gone as planned.
Pep Guardiola fought his corner and truly valued him as a wonderful prospect, giving him the chance to shine in the Audi Cup in 2011 and the player never looked back.
He dazzled in Germany that preseason, laying down question marks as to why Cesc Fabregas was even needed at Camp Nou. Guardiola bought the Arsenal midfielder anyway, and Thiago was humble enough to give the new arrival his assigned, famous No. 4 shirt.
He made good progress that season, but he's only made 15 total starts under Tito Vilanova.
Cúles would have been hoping for him to contribute a little more than that, and it's selection—not injury—that's held the 22-year-old back.
You'd be hard-pressed to argue that the Spaniard has improved over the course of this season, such is the sporadic nature of his appearances. Even though Barca sealed the La Liga title weeks ago (and effectively sealed it at Christmas), Xavi is still starting every game.
Circumstances as they are, you can't blame Thiago for looking at other options. At 22, he is no longer that young, and he needs games under his belt to ensure his potential doesn't go unfulfilled.
And don't doubt it: This is a player who has the potential to become one of the best in the game.
He's silky smooth in motion, rarely gives the ball away and boasts decent physical attributes. Thiago can thread the eye of the needle with his passing, change the tempo or force matters himself by going on a mazy dribble.
He's used to slow tempo tiki-taka possession football in Catalonia, but one so raw can adapt quickly and prosper immediately.
Creative midfielder isn't top of Manchester United's shopping list—defensive midfielder is—but this is one of those transfers that comes along every so often and you can't afford to pass up the chance.
Thiago's elite career at Barcelona has been planned out on paper, but this isn't the first time a midfielder has grown disgruntled. Xavi struggled to oust Guardiola as a youngster, and the Camp Nou stands booed him as he was labeled an imposter to Pep's throne.
Xavi isn't showing any signs of slowing down as his game is not dependent on any physical attributes. Could Thiago do what Xavi didn't and jump ship?