The chances remain good that Thiago Alcantara will leave Barcelona for Manchester United, according to sources from the Guardian. The fact that discussions have already been going on for several weeks, despite the midfielder having a clause allowing him to leave for €18 million (£15.5m) until the end of this month, appeared to suggest that he would be staying at the Camp Nou. However, the Guardian believes that the transfer could be finalized this week with Thiago joining on a five-year deal.
Terms that would treble his current £30,000 a week wages are long since reported to have been agreed with the 22-year-old. Yet, Thiago has been deliberating over whether to make a move from his boyhood club in the search for more regular first-team action. In their efforts to persuade him to stay, Barcelona’s management and players have attempted to persuade the son of former Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho that he will play a big part in the club’s future. But it appears Thiago could be set to become David Moyes’s first major signing since taking the reins at Old Trafford. He won’t, though, now arrive in time to head off on United’s pre-season tour of Asia and Australia on Wednesday.
Over the weekend, Barcelona-based publication Sport even reported that Thiago could be part of a deal that takes Wayne Rooney to the Spanish champions. It is said that Barcelona have stepped-up their interest in the Manchester United forward and would consider including Thiago, as well as David Villa, in a deal. Yet, such speculation is perhaps questionable, especially considering that Villa has on Monday signed for Atletico Madrid. Rooney’s future does remain in doubt, though, with Moyes refusing to confirm that the forward wanted to remain at the club, despite the new United manager’s insistence that he was not for sale.
Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski has long been suggested as a replacement for Rooney, but a move to Old Trafford looks increasingly unlikely. Dortmund have refused to allow the Polish striker to join rivals Bayern Munich this summer and, according to manager Jurgen Klopp, will now let him run down the remaining year of his contract before he moves to the German champions on a free transfer.
“I think it is a fact that Robert Lewandowski will join Bayern at the end of the coming season,” he said, according to ESPN. “What matters now is what we do before that point. That is our concern, and we have an obligation to our fans to ensure we are competitive in the coming season.
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“To a point, we were willing to discuss Robert’s desire to move, but since nothing happened during that period, we eventually had to say: ‘So now it no longer works for us’. And now we want to prove we can be successful in the coming year with a quality player like Robert.”
Another long-standing United target, Kevin Strootman, has been discussing his future and has revealed that there are a number of clubs interested in signing him. However, the 23-year-old midfielder has hinted that United are not one of them.
"There are several clubs interested but only when they reach an agreement with PSV do I come into the picture," he told Dutch publication Voetbal International. "This is not to say that any are in the world's top six. There is also interest from Russia, but that is not an option for me. I do not make hasty decisions about my future.”