Manchester United's new manager David Moyes eyes Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara
The £15m-rated midfielder is also on the radar of Manchester City this summer, with the 22-year-old keen to leave Camp Nou in the pursuit of greater first-team opportunities
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.
The midfielder has a release clause of €90 million (£77m) in his current contract with the Spanish champions -though reports in Spain have suggested this may have been dropped to as low as €17m (£14.5m) in recent weeks.
As such, Old Trafford officials are confident a bid of around £15m could be enough to tempt Barcelona into selling their man.
United also feel that his wage demands would fit comfortably within the club’s current salary structure.
However, the Premier League champions could face competition from neighbours Manchester City in the race to sign the Spain international.
City executive Brian Marwood met with the youngster’s father Mazinho – who acts as the midfielder’s representative – in Barcelona last summer, while director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano have also kept tabs on the 22-year-old.
Begiristain maintains a detailed knowledge of the Barcelona pay structure after his seven-year spell under former Camp Nou supremo Joan Laporta, and is keen to replicate the Catalans’ model both on and off the pitch at Eastlands.
Reports in Spain on Wednesday also suggested that incoming Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola would be keen to rekindle his relationship with the former Flamengo youth star.
Quoted in March, Thiago’s father spoke of his son’s desire to gain more first-team football, and hinted that he would consider a move away from the Blaugrana.
“My son would play a lot more in any other team in the world,” he said. “He’s learning a lot playing with great players but Thiago is very ambitious and needs to play.
“No-one knows what might happen in the future. Football changes a lot and anything can happen. If Thiago wants to go to the 2014 World Cup, he needs to play much more.
“Thiago has the quality to succeed at Barca. But he’d play a lot more at another club. He’d get into any other team in the world.