Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Guardiola wants Thiago

Thiago Alcantara, pictured, could be moving to the European champions

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed he wants to sign Thiago Alcantara from old club Barcelona.

The highly-rated Spain Under-21 star has apparently decided he needs to quit the Nou Camp in order to increase his chances of making next summer's World Cup.

It seemed Manchester United were in pole position to sign the midfielder, with new manager David Moyes keen for Thiago to bolster an area of the Red Devils squad weakened by the retirement of Paul Scholes.

But United landed in Bangkok for the start of their pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia to reports in Spain that Thiago had opted to link up with his former boss in Munich. And, speaking in Germany on Thursday, Guardiola has confirmed he wants Thiago at the Allianz Arena.

"Yes," Guardiola told reporters, when asked if he was interested in Thiago "I don't know what's going to happen. We have to wait. But I know him very well. He is a super, super player. He can play in three, four or five positions."

And Guardiola has made it clear he is not interested in anyone else.

"It is either Thiago or nothing," he said.

United are still to find out whether Thiago has opted for the familiarity of working with Guardiola. However, if they have missed out, it would be a major blow for Moyes, who confirmed that extensive efforts were being made to strengthen his squad, with particular emphasis on younger players.

At 22, the Italy-born son of former Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho, is one of the most highly-rated midfielders in Europe and would fit Moyes' template perfectly.

It would certainly seem United need reinforcements in that area of the field, with Scholes now retired and doubts over both Darren Fletcher and Anderson. The Red Devils were heavily linked with Cesc Fabregas earlier in the summer but the former Arsenal man has decided to remain at the Nou Camp.

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