In what seems like a sea-saw type of negotiations, with Thiago Alcantara leaning a different direction every day or possibly twice in the same one, Manchester United have been gaining ground and probably trumping Barcelona in their efforts to sign the young Spanish midfielder.
According to reports in Spain (El Mundo Deportivo) and on a bigger scale (ESPN), the one stumbling block remaining for Thiago to get over was introducing a clause in his United contract that allows him to leave for a similar fee to the one he is going to be signed for if he doesn’t get enough minutes. While United don’t offer the same depth and talent in the middle of the pitch, there is no guarantee that Thiago will be a first team player all season long.
Thiago and his father, Mazinho, were also slightly worried about David Moyes. Even with Alex Ferguson, United have missed out on most major transfer targets in recent years, especially those coming from outside the Premier League. Moyes doesn’t have any kind of reputation outside of England, which does make it a bit harder convincing players from certain clubs and of a certain caliber to join United this summer.
However, Barcelona’s spokesman Toni Freixa has admitted there hasn’t been any contract with Thiago since the end of the under-21 European championship in Israel, although he is still under contract and he is still a Barcelona player, until that changes.
For Barcelona, due to the release clause allowing Thiago to leave if €21 million are received, there’s nothing much they can do. Promising him first team action isn’t going to help because the presence of Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and Andres Iniesta on the team. United have also gone overboard in their attempts to convince the 22 year old to leave the Spanish champions.
In terms of chances to play, Thiago should face better odds at Old Trafford. As for the chances to win titles? League championships are both within reach and more than that at both clubs, but in European competition, Barcelona have a much better chance of winning or at least advancing the furthest in the Champions League.