Barcelona Transfer Rumors: Latest Speculation Surrounding Thiago Alcantara

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJuly 8, 2013

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 18:  Thiago Alcantara of Spain celebrates his team's second goal during the UEFA European U21 Championship final match between Italy and Spain at Teddy Stadium on June 18, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

It has been a quiet summer so far for Barcelona.

Tito Vilanova and Co. got their big move out of the way early, agreeing to terms with 21-year-old burgeoning superstar Neymar at the beginning of June. But since then, there hasn't been much noise from the Barca camp with the exception of loans and less significant things of that nature. 

There were rumblings that Wayne Rooney could be on his way south, but new manager David Moyes shot that down pretty quickly, as reported by Sky Sports:

But United have consistently said they will not sell, and Moyes could not have been clearer as he fielded questions on Rooney in Old Trafford's Europa Suite.

He said: "Wayne Rooney is not for sale. He's a Manchester United player and will remain a Manchester United player.

Instead, the one big move Barcelona continues to be linked with is another transfer involving Manchester United—only in reverse fashion. 

By the sound of the most recent chatter, young midfielder Thiago Alcantara is on the verge of leaving Spain for the Red Devils. The Observer's Jamie Jackson has the newest rumor:

Thiago Alcântara 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.

Until a move is official, it's important to take this with a pumpkin-sized grain of salt. We've heard rumors like this before, and "Manchester United have yet to make a formal offer," according to Metro Sport's Hannah Duncan.

However, Yahoo! Sports countered with some more damning evidence in support of the "Thiago is leaving" side.

When Barcelona revealed its new 2013-14 kits via Instagram, the club did so with this picture:

One day later, the picture was changed to this:

So, yeah, the future of Thiago is about as clear as mud right now. 

With the exception of Neymar, it has been a frustratingly slow summer for Barcelona. The Blaugrana, coming off a La Liga-winning season but an embarrassing defeat in the Champions League, could use depth in the midfield and an injection of youth and talent in the middle of the back four.

And losing one of the most promising midfielders in all of Europe—and one who is coming off a solid La Liga season and dynamite performance in the Euro Under-21 Championship—isn't exactly the way to quell those problems.

Nevertheless, while transfer rumors have been quiet so far, there is still plenty of time before Barcelona's window close.