Manchester United Transfer Rumors: United Shouldn't Move for Thiago Alcantara

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIMay 23, 2013

BILBAO, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Thiago Alcantara of FC Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Athletic Club de Bilbaoand FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on April 27, 2013 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

With transfer rumors aplenty for Manchester United at the moment, it seems absolutely anyone could end up at Old Trafford next season. 

That is, if you believe the rumor mill, and the slew of players that it's already linked with a move to the Premier League champions in 2013.

The latest name thought to be on United's radar is Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, with reporting a possible move is imminent from United.

Which, if true, is a move they must not make this summer transfer window.

Here's the original report from Paul Clennam at

Manchester United's new manager David Moyes has identified Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara as a key transfer target this summer.

The former Everton boss, who arrived at Carrington on Monday to meet with club staff after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, is set to maintain United's long-standing interest in the 22-year-old. Sir Alex made informal enquiries regarding the youngster's availability two years ago but was rebuffed by Barcelona, who rewarded Thiago with a four-year contract in 2011.

Thiago has been deployed as both a creative and deep–lying pivot midfielder at Camp Nou since making his debut in 2009, but has seen his first-team opportunities restricted following the arrivals of Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song from Arsenal.

In his 27 appearances for Barcelona this season, Thiago picked up two goals and five assists, and won a man-of-the-match award against Zaragoza too.

He was a very capable and effective passer in Barcelona's system (completing at over 90 percent) and showed that he can have a great future in midfield at Camp Nou—be that in the immediate future with Xavi and Andres Iniesta or over a longer period of time.

Thiago is a very talented midfielder and has a bright future ahead of him at only 22 years of age. He wants to play first-team football so that he can make Spain's 2014 World Cup team—something that he isn't going to get at Barcelona—and is therefore potentially open to a move this summer.

However, despite all of that, it's the wrong move for United to make.

The biggest point has to be his style. Playing in Barcelona's possession-based system is going to be very different to playing in United's attacking system. That's not to say his skills wouldn't be appreciated, but they would be less effective than they have been in Spain.

Thiago would be forced into hitting more long balls and crosses, which he wasn't that adept at last season. He would also be forced into doing much more work defensively which he's good at in La Liga, but might not necessarily be as effective at in the Premier League's physical style of play.

Standing at just under 5'8" and 156 pounds, Thiago doesn't have the physical size that a central midfielder is going to need to have in the English game.

For who's going to win—him, or Yaya Toure?

The other big question surrounding Thiago is his price. reports that the 22-year-old has a staggering £77 million release clause in his contract, which is very hard to see United paying. However, according to the report, United officials are confident a bid in the £15 million range would be enough to convince Barca to sell. However, it's still a lot of money to pay for a player that doesn't fit their system that well.

If they were going to spend that type of money this summer, Manchester United would be much better off picking up Marouane Fellaini from Everton instead.

As good as Thiago might be, he's just not a good fit in the Red Devils' system, or in the everyday rigors of the Premier League. And until the Spanish international can prove himself somewhere other than Barcelona's tiki-taka system, he's not worth United spending the money on this summer.

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