Barcelona are fighting to persuade Thiago Alcantara that his future lies with the Catalan club as the young midfielder appears increasingly close to joining Manchester United. The 22-year-old’s father has been in Manchester discussing a potential move with Old Trafford officials and has now returned with an extremely tempting proposal, according to Spanish sports daily AS.
David Moyes has made strengthening his midfield one of his early priorities as United boss. And Thiago, who scored a hat-trick in the final of the European Under-21 Championship last week, would represent outstanding value for money. A clause in his contract allows him to leave for €18 million (£15.3m) until the end of July after failing to make a set number of appearances last season.
Barcelona are now attempting to convince Thiago that he will be an integral part of the side next season and can look forward to a long and glory-laden career at the Camp Nou. But, with the likes of Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta all competing for a spot in midfield, the son of former Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho may decide that he is best served by a change of scenery if he is to have a chance of following in his father’s footsteps in Brazil next year.
As well as midfield, the Daily Telegraph believes that Moyes is also intent on enhancing the attacking options at his disposal. And still foremost among United’s thinking is said to be a sensational move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. Speculation refuses to die that the Portugal star can be pried away from Real Madrid this summer as he enters the final two years of his contract. If the 27-year-old fails to commit to a new deal then Madrid may be tempted to cash in, although the Spanish giants have consistently intimated that they are determined to keep their prized asset. Thus a transfer remains unlikely, although the Daily Star Sunday has rather outlandish speculation that Ronaldo could move in a part-exchange deal with Wayne Rooney.
But, sensing a deal will be extremely difficult to pull off, United are exploring alternatives, reports the Telegraph. Apparently top of that list is Robert Lewandowski. United’s interest in the Borussia Dortmund striker stretches back to a failed approach last summer, however, it was thought that he was now headed to Bayern Munich. But, despite the 24-year-old having just a year left on his contract, Dortmund have refused to sell the player to their fierce rivals. Dortmund have also claimed that Lewandowski will not be joining any other club this summer, although the Telegraph believes a £25 million move could be successful.
Meanwhile, Manchester United look set to miss out on the signing of Vitesse Arnhem midfielder Marco van Ginkel. According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea are close to wrapping up a £9 million deal for the 20-year-old after he received assurances about his chances of first-team action at Stamford Bridge. Van Ginkel has earned one cap for the Netherlands and also featured for his country in the European Under-21 Championship.