Manchester United have been trying hard to acquire Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona. After a potential deal seemed set, it now seems as though the young player is headed elsewhere.
According to Gary Jones of the Daily Star, the 22-year-old midfielder is set to play for his former manager Pep Guardiola with Bayern Munich:
Manchester United's top summer target Thiago Alcântara has reportedly agreed a deal with German champs Bayern Munich. According to tuttomercatoweb, the sought-after playmaker will sign a four-year contract worth around £2.1m per year.
While there are conflicting reports over whether this deal has been completed, football insider Raphael Honigstein states that it could be finished soon:
This is a tough blow for Manchester United after it appeared as though they were set to sign the midfielder last week.
However, it is clear that the club must move on from this transaction and find someone else who could help upgrade the midfield. Otherwise, it will struggle to defend its EPL title as well as improve upon its early exit in the Champions League last season.
One transfer target that should be revisited at this time is Marouane Fellaini. The Everton midfielder is coming off the best year of his career with 11 goals and five assists and is just entering his prime at 25 years old.
At the beginning of June, it appeared as though David Moyes was going to complete a transfer for his former player, according to Massimo Marioni of Metro Sport.
Since then, the rumours have died down as the Old Trafford club began to seek younger midfielders like Thiago and Kevin Strootman. However, it now seems as though Fellaini is the best option available.
The Belgian midfielder is not as creative offensively as the other players considered, but he is a strong defender and one of the better aerial players in the world. He can give the offense another dimension as someone who can finish with his head in traffic.
After proving himself for his national team over the recent string of World Cup qualifying matches, Fellaini is clearly ready for a step up and should be a great fit for Manchester United.
One other move that the club could make to greatly improve the midfield heading into next season would be to take advantage of the overcrowded roster currently at Bayern Munich. Honigstein pointed out that there are now too many talented players with the club, and some will be upset about it:
ESPN's Mark Payne speculates that this could lead to good things for United:
Moyes might be advised to make a few late-night calls from his preseason preparations in Bangkok to inquire about the availability of Bayern's current midfielders...United could do worse than taking on a European Cup winner with something to prove.
It remains to be seen if this comes to fruition, but there will certainly be guys looking for more playing time. The club should be there ready to grab one of them if they become available.
Losing out on Thiago would be a huge blow, especially after being so close to completing a deal. The young player is immensely talented and would help contend for trophies next season and for many years to come.
However, there are other options for the club going forward. The important thing is to move quickly and do whatever is necessary to actually complete any transfers in the future.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.