Thiago Alcantara couldn't really be blamed if he left Barcelona for greener pastures. Sure, Barca's pastures are as lush as they come, but what good is that if a player like Alcantara can't get a first-team nibble?
Alcantara could be blamed for leaving one crowded field to join another. And that's precisely what it seems he is set to do, as reports surfaced on Thursday that the Spanish star would sign with Bayern Munich.
From Tancredi Palmeri of CNN:
There are two ways to look at this move for Alcantara: Either Pep Guardiola has told the youngster he'll feature regularly and plans on moving a midfielder in this window, or Alcantara simply feels more comfortable playing under a manager he knows rather than making the move to a club like Manchester United.
Because at United, his place in the starting 11 wouldn't be questioned. And United certainly seem to crave his signature.
At Bayern, however, it's hard to see where he fits in. The club already has a glut of talented midfielders such as Thomas Mueller, Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Javi Martinez and Luiz Gustavo.
Is one of these players not in Guardiola's plans?
It's hard to imagine Gotze or Schweinsteiger being omitted from the starting lineup regularly, while Mueller will likely slide out into wider positions. Martinez was very good last season and cost a pretty penny a summer ago, while Kroos was one of Bayern's finest players before an injury ended his season.
And it's hard to imagine Guardiola tinkering too much with a team that absolutely dominated Europe and the Bundesliga last year. One would think he would add an additional technical element to Bayern's game, not alter that game altogether.
At Manchester United, Alcantara would be an instant starter, likely slotting next to Michael Carrick in the midfield. He would operate as a deep-lying playmaker and would have room to grow, surrounded by an excellent cast of attackers.
At Bayern Munich, it seems likely he'd be Schweinsteiger's deputy, while Martinez and Gustavo rotated in the defensive midfield role. Perhaps a player will be sacrificed—Gustavo would be the safest bet in that regard—and Alcantara would pair with Schweinsteiger, who would play the more defensive midfield position, with Martinez getting his fair share of time.
But ultimately, it seems Alcantara would be leaving one frustratingly crowded midfield for another.
If he wants to go somewhere he's guaranteed to play, then he should, you know, go somewhere he's guaranteed to play.
That club is not Bayern Munich. That club would be Manchester United. The choice is obvious.
And it appears Alcantara is making the wrong one.