The biggest obstacle to Manchester United completing a deal for Thiago Alcantara is now believed to be potential rival interest from Bayern Munich, with the midfielder having made up his mind to depart Barcelona. The player has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for a fee of €18 million (£15.3m) until the end of July, after failing to make a set number of appearances last season, and Barcelona are now resigned to him leaving, according to Spanish sports daily Marca.

Barcelona, as well as several of their players, have been trying to persuade the 22-year-old that he will play a big part in the club’s future. But the player’s father, former Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho, has met with United officials and provisionally agreed a five-year contract worth €4.4 million (£3.73m) a season, according to Barcelona-based publication Sport.

However, United will be nervous of rumored interest from Bayern Munich, which has just unveiled Pep Guardiola as their new boss. Guardiola brought Thiago through into the first team at the Camp Nou. However, with Bayern’s array of quality midfielders, it would appear that the star of the recent European Under-21 Championship will have a greater chance of getting the regular first-team action he craves at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Spanish publication El Pais has made the bold claim that Cristiano Ronaldo is set to meet with Manchester United officials in the coming days to discuss a potential return to the club. Doubt continues to persist over the Portugal star’s future as he delays signing a new contract with Real Madrid. And United have continued to monitor the situation with the hope that they could lure the player back to the club, which he left in a record £80 million deal in 2009.

El Pais believes that Ronaldo still feels underappreciated at Madrid, and in particular by president Florentino Perez. But, despite his affection for United, Ronaldo is said to have doubts about a move following the departure of former mentor Sir Alex Ferguson, who has been replaced by David Moyes.

Manchester United’s attempts to make a marquee signing to kick-start the Moyes-era has seen the club also linked with Napoli front man Edinson Cavani in recent days. While it appears that the Uruguay international is heading closer to the exit door in Naples, he will not come cheap for either United, or fellow interested parties Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Not only are Napoli so far unwilling to lower demands from the player’s €63 million (£53.4m) buyout clause, but, according to the Daily Mirror, Cavani will also demand wages of £300,000 a week.  That may not prove prohibitive with that figure reported to be, with bonuses, what Wayne Rooney currently pockets.  

Meanwhile, Manchester United have again been linked with a move for Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia, this time by Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport. It is thought that the Italian side may be looking to move the 25-year-old center back off of its wage bill this summer. As well as the Italy international, United have also been linked with strengthening their central defensive options with a move for Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay.

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