Young midfielder Thiago Alcantara's potential move from Barcelona to English giants Manchester United has been one of the biggest storylines of this offseason, and for good reason. Expect the Red Devils to cruise to many more Premier League titles if the deal is finalized.
The news of Alcantara's possible departure from Spain has gone back and forth, but the latest buzz from Jamie Jackson of The Guardian notes that United are likely to land the 22-year-old playmaker.
Thiago Alcantara has a "good chance" of signing for Manchester United this week for about £17m on a five-year deal, though whether David Moyes can complete the transfer of the Barcelona midfielder before the club fly out on their three-week pre-season tour on Wednesday is unlikely.
United appeared to have lost out on Thiago after Barcelona offered the Spain international assurances that he would receive regular game time. But according to a highly placed source it is understood that the chances of Thiago choosing United have been greatly enhanced, with the 22-year-old set to receive much-improved terms on his current £30,000-a-week contract.
The report goes on to state that if a deal were to somehow be finalized before Wednesday, he could join his potential new club at some point in their big summer tour of Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.
Thiago came into his own as a playmaker who can excel in top-notch competition in the past year, and the exclamation point came in his captaining of Spain's Under-21 championship at Euro 2013.
Alcantara notched a hat-trick in the championship match against Italy in their 4-2 victory, proving to be the difference on a side that is flooded with future stars.
With aging midfielder Paul Scholes nearing retirement, United have options for Thiago to immediately compete for first-team action. At the very least, he'll enter the transition process to becoming a starter in his inaugural year.
Manchester United's midfield is in even more doubt after news that Darren Fletcher's career is in question heading into ulcerative colitis surgery, per Steve Bates of the Daily Mirror. If there's one position on the pitch where they need young talent to come in and step up, it's the midfield.
Even though the Red Devils have some openings for Thiago, that doesn't mean that they're short in the talent department by any means. With or without the 22-year-old, United look like a big-time favorite to win the EPL title with only a select few clubs that could dethrone the champions.
Thiago's playmaking ability and swift-footed play would fit right into United's playing style. Players who make a name for themselves in Old Trafford tend to do so by being able to take the match into their own hands (or feet) while also setting up scoring chances with a flurry of teamwork and quick passing. This young Spaniard could do just that.
If the deal happens, how long until Thiago permanently starts for United?
This up-and-comer's ability to push the pace and use his midfield grounds to attack will be a sight to behold at Old Trafford, and one that a player there hasn't quite possessed since Cristiano Ronaldo. While United have plenty of able attackers, the style that Thiago would bring to the table will be a fresh change of pace.
Alcantara is undoubtedly one of the rising talents in world football, and new manager David Moyes would be hitting a home run with his first major transfer move as head man of the English giants.
The writing has been on the wall for some time that the Spaniard is on his way to England, and it'll be an absolute steal for the Red Devils to secure him on such a low release clause.
If this deal gets done before the end of the transfer window, there's plenty of reason to believe that Manchester United will be the kings of the English Premier League for many seasons.