How would the signing of Thiago Alcantara impact Manchester United's first season under David Moyes?
If reports are to be believed, the Spanish Under-21 star is set to pen a deal that would see him earn £5 million per year at Old Trafford. Sky Sports' Spanish football correspondent Graham Hunter tweeted the deal is close enough for personal terms to be agreed, especially as United has the opportunity to trigger his £17 million release clause; a smidgen of the £77 million the club were originally quoted.
What exactly would this do for David Moyes in his first step as United boss? Considering the 50-year-old doesn't officially take over from Sir Alex Ferguson until July 1, it's difficult to gauge exactly how much input he has into luring Thiago towards England. He certainly didn't sign United's only summer acquisition so far, as Guillermo Varela earned his deal after a first-team trial with Sir Alex.
Whether Moyes has a significant role to play in Thiago's potential capture is irrelevant. The Barcelona starlet's arrival could not only change the shape of the team, it would set United along a path of finally strengthening the club's midfield options. As many enthusiasts know, this journey has been calling out for quite some time.
Although the squad desperately needs a defensive midfielder whose primary job is to win back possession, Thiago could become a key thread in the Red Devils' midfield. His clever movement and willingness to open up space could drag players away from Michael Carrick, allowing the Englishman to dictate with his much-improved and increasingly direct passing.
United pretty much has to guarantee the 22-year-old first-team football if he is to commit. This could have huge repercussions for a number of players, including the likes of Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Darren Fletcher. While the Scottish midfielder is ready to battle for his place after successful bowl surgery, Cleverley and Anderson will need to up their game before a United future slips away.
Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young may also feel the effects of Thiago's presence. Moyes' most effective Everton sides effectively link versatile midfield and forward players, many of which drift away from the traditional winger's role.
Individuals such as Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Darron Gibson maintain possession with short passes, while full-backs such as Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman maintain width by bombing up the flanks. Kevin Mirallas was perhaps the exception to this throughout the 2012/13 season, but even so, the Belgian forward often headed towards central positions in order to influence the game.
Moyes could easily employ this system with Thiago, Carrick, Kagawa and Wayne Rooney working together. Presuming United lands the physical midfield presence they need—perhaps Kevin Strootman or Marouane Fellaini—the room for out-and-out wing play begins to disappear.
David Moyes certainly has the opportunity to stamp his own ideas into Manchester United's play. Signing Thiago Alcantara undoubtedly represents an unmissable piece of business and reinforces the club's stance of developing young talent. Whether the Spanish player's potential signing is down to Moyes or not, his impact on the team could be felt for years to come.
How would the signing of Thiago Alcantara impact David Moyes' first year as Manchester United manager? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to follow me on Twitter right here: