Guardiola grabs Manchester United target

FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich have confirmed an agreement over the transfer of midfielder Thiago Alcântara.

In a post on their official website, Bayern confirmed that negotiations had been successful for the 22 year-old and that he will travel to Munich to undergo a medical and sign a four-year contract until 2017. Italian-born Thiago - who represents Spain and is also eligible to play for Brazil - will once again link-up with manager Pep Guardiola after his new club Bayern agreed to pay Thiago's €25m release clause.

The midfielder starred at this summer's UEFA Under-21 European Championships, where a hat-trick in the final against Italy helped him on his way to being awarded the Golden Ball. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge acknowledged this when asked about his new signing, saying "We are happy that his big transfer was able to take place. Thiago has just been named best player at the U21 European Championships, he is a fantastic player with great potential and will strengthen our team."

Thiago had also been a target for Manchester United this summer, with the midfielder viewed by some as an ideal replacement for Paul Scholes. Disappointment will be double for new manager David Moyes, who tasted defeat in his first game in charge today in the shape of a 1-0 loss to a Singha All Stars XI.

The son of Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho, Thiago was born in San Pietro, Italy, but started his youth career with Flamengo in his father's homeland. After moving back to Spain, where he spent most of his childhood, Thiago played for youth sides Ureca and Kelme; before re-joining Flamengo six years later. Four more years at his first club followed, before a move to Barcelona in 2008 saw the beginning of a prosperous spell.

The 22 year-old appeared 59 times for Barcelona B between 2008 and 2011, while making his first team debut aged 18 in 2009, before being promoted to the first team in 2010. He had since been a less than regular starter under Guardiola, although his playing time gradually increased during his career at the Blaugrana.

He has also been a regular for Spain's youth teams, including making 21 appearances for the U21 team he captained to glory this summer, and also made his debut for the senior side in a friendly against his country of birth - Italy - in 2011.

Thiago has been likened to former teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta regularly and adds a valuable option to an expected central midfield trio already being fought for between Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo as well as rising stars Emre Can and Pierre Højberg.

Bayern have already signed Jan Kirchhoff and Mario Götze this summer and last week sold striker Mario Gomez to Fiorentina.


Position: Central midfield, Attacking midfield, Deep-lying playmaker

Age: 22

Stronger foot: Right

Best attributes: Vision, creativity, flair

Plays a bit like: Andres Iniesta, Xavi

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