Two Offers for Thiago
Two clubs have offered to pay the 18million euro ($24million; £15million) release fee of Barcelona forward Thiago Alcantara. Premier League side Manchester United and European champions Bayern Munich – coached by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola – are both willing to meet the clause in Alcantara’s contract and he could be on his way out of the Nou Camp by the end of next month.
Thiago’s fee has been slashed from 90million euro ($120million; £75million) after he played at least 45 minutes in fewer than 60 percent of Barca’s games this season. The release clause goes back up to 90million euro after 31 July. The youngster – who scored a hat-trick in Spain’s 4-2 win over Italy in the Uefa Under-21 championship final on Tuesday – had the clause inserted into the deal he signed last summer after he hinted he could leave the club if he failed to get more playing time. He started a total of 20 games in all competitions and was a substitute in 16 others.
United were first linked with Thiago last month when it became obvious that he would fail to make the required number of minutes but Bayern’s interest is being noted for the first time. Incoming coach Pep Guardiola knows the player well from his time at the Nou Camp having given him his first-team debut for the side in 2009. The link with Guardiola means the German side will probably start as favourites to secure his signature – should he decide to leave. Interest from AC Milan, who have also been linked with the 22-year-old, has yet to take the form of a concrete bid.
Meanwhile, former Barcelona midfielder Luis Milla has advised Thiago to remain at the Nou Camp. Speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena COPE, Milla – who now coaches the Al-Jazira club in the UAE said: “He may want to play more, but I would say be patient. He clearly has Barcelona DNA and for me he is a player for the first team for the next ten years.”
Mata Sidesteps Barca Interest
Thiago and team-mate Cristian Tello could be sacrificed by Barca with the club reportedly set to make a bid for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata as their replacement; however, the former Valencia player says he is concentrating on the Confederations Cup tournament.
“Being in the Spanish team is so important,” he said at a press conference. “It is a pride so great that the only thing I think about and the only thing I’m focused on is the Confederations Cup.”
Mata was linked with Barcelona in 2011 prior to him moving to England. Rumours began to circulate of a possible bid from Barca after Mata was spotted in the crowd at a reserve match but he instead moved to Stamford Bridge for a fee of £23million (just under 30million euro or $40million). However, Chelsea face the prospect of paying out various bonuses and add-ons under the terms of the deal and new boss Jose Mourinho is said to be considering a sale of Mata to raise cash to fund new signings and to avoid the club making bonus payments to Valencia.
Agger In Barca Link
Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is being linked with a Barcelona transfer. The 28-year-old Denmark international was linked with interest last summer from the Nou Camp but after hearing of two rejected bids from Manchester City – the second of which was £20million (23million euro, $32million) – Barca dropped their interest. The club decided that a player of his age would have no resale value towards the end of his contract.
However, Spanish radio network Cadena Ser claims Agger could be back on Barcelona’s wishlist after seeing their interest in Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Silva come to an end. Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has also been linked with Barca but reports from England are claiming he is set to remain with the Gunners.
Spanish football team.
Calle Arístides Mallol, 12