Before Thiago Alcantara buys that non-refundable one-way ticket to Manchester, he should listen to Barcelona's plea to hold on to him.
Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague reported that Thiago's father is hoping for a move to Manchester United, but the Catalan club is hoping a move at the 11th hour will be enough to keep him.
Thiago's dad just back from Manchester. He wants to meet FCB to tell them his son wants to go to United. But FCB want 2 convince him 2 stay— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) June 24, 2013
When Thiago signed a new contract with Barcelona in 2011, a €90 million release clause was written in. Now, that's dropped to only €18 million because the club didn't feature him enough this season. If Thiago wants to go, he's got every right to do so. It's all in his hands.
The 22-year-old midfielder also has reason to be a tad frustrated with his current club after making only 22 La Liga and two Champions League appearances.
Where should Thiago Alcantara play next season?
However, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, and there's no guarantee the situation will be that much better at Manchester United.
The Red Devils are replacing a legendary manager in Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, his replacement, has massive shoes to fill. So many times throughout history, clubs have had a hard time moving on from long-tenured, successful managers.
It took decades for United to return to the apex of English football after the departure of Matt Busby.
Moyes looks like a good hire. However, there's no getting around the fact that he didn't win a trophy at Everton and struggled when playing against the top teams in the league.
At Barcelona, Thiago is guaranteed to finish in the top two of La Liga and mount a successful Champions League campaign. While winning trophies isn't the only concern for a player, Barcelona get the definite edge in that category.
Another problem at United could be playing time.
Much of this could change down the line under Moyes, but the Red Devils have had a hard time handling some younger players in the past. They've let Giuseppe Rossi and Gerard Pique slip through the cracks without giving them much of a chance in the first team. Then there were the departures of players like Paul Pogba and Mame Biram Diouf, both of whom have had success at other clubs.
Thiago has at least already managed to make an impact in the first-team squad. Barcelona may finally realize the talent they have. It's a case of you don't know what you got till it's gone. Now threatened by the departure of such a young, talented player, the Catalans may have the impetus to do whatever it takes to keep Thiago happy.
Playing at Barcelona would also be a huge help to Thiago's national team chances. Now the cream always rises to the top, and if he's playing well at another club, there's no doubt he'd get his fair share of international caps.
Look at the club breakdown, though, of the squad Vicente del Bosque took to the Confederations Cup. There are so many Real Madrid and Barcelona players.
Thiago will be able to build a rapport with his countrymen at Barcelona, and that's only bound to benefit the national team and encourage del Bosque to include him in the squad.
Although he probably isn't happy with Barcelona at the moment, it's never smart to make decisions on emotion alone. He needs to hear out the club in order to make the best possible decision.