The summer began so promisingly for Barcelona with the arrival of Neymar, the world’s hottest talent. In terms of the transfer market, everything has gone a little pear-shaped since that moment. Instead of more joyous arrivals, the news has been dominated by the story of a footballer the club cannot get, in the shape of Thiago Silva of PSG. And then there is the matter of the player Barcelona are battling to keep. This is where the name of Thiago Alcantara comes up.
In what is a becoming another summer time transfer soap opera, three of the biggest clubs in Europe appear to be scrapping for the attentions of the midfielder. Manchester United have long been rumored to be sniffing about. A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich is the latest story to surface. Meanwhile, Tito Vilanova will not be overly keen to lose a key part of the Catalan club’s present and future.
It is Thiago’s buy-out clause that has teams frantically swimming around like sharks surrounding a sea-born BBQ. A lack of first team action in the previous campaign sees the fee for the footballer dropping to a very affordable €18 million. The sum will go back up to €90 million when the new season starts. With respect to Thiago’s talents, no club in its right mind is going to pay that figure.
Comments made last week by Guardiola put the German club as front runners for Thiago’s signing. Should the Bundesliga outfit land their man, then the immediate damage to Barca would appear to be limited. After all, this is a footballer who was a fringe player for the club last season. However, the long-term repercussions for the Catalans could be considerably worse.
Thiago’s departure would be another sign for the team’s youth players that leaving the club is the only way to get playing time. It seems that the old guard lead by Xavi Hernandez are going to be around for a few more years to come, with no sign of a renewal in the first team squad. For this reason Bojan Krkic has gone out on another loan deal, Spain U-20 star Gerard Deulofeu has landed at Everton whilst defender, Andreu Fontas, has been sold to Celta Vigo.
A splurge of nearly €60 million on Neymar must have left Barcelona’s coffers a little empty, especially considering the cheapness of David Villa’s departure. This is a little unfortunate as a couple more whopping transfers are going to be required this summer to reinforce a back line that is very low in numbers. Losing a footballer valued at €90 million for €18 million would see an enormous hit to Barcelona’s books.
Of course, any coach would love to have as many fine players as possible in his or her team. The Barca boss is no different. However, Tito Vilanova is apparently unable to guarantee Thiago a starting place in the Barca team for next season. Nevertheless, that is no reason why the midfielder cannot build on an inspirational U-21 European Championships to play a key role in a campaign which sees Barca with a heck of a lot of games to play, once again.
It seems that Thiago does not have the patience to wait for an indeterminate amount of time to become the king-pin of Barcelona’s midfield. The consequences of this to the midfielder’s development are up for debate. The detrimental effect to Barcelona, on the other hand, will be depressingly clear to the side’s supporters.