Manchester United target Thiago Alcantara more advanced than Xavi or Iniesta at his age

Manchester United have been linked with Thiago Alcantara, and could just snap up the ultimate bargain if they do.

Thiago Alcantara is currently away with Spain's under-21 squad where he is busy displaying that he could just be the bargain transfer of the summer.

Available for just €18 million due to a clause in his contract, United may just find they have a few more competitors for his signature after the tournament once it is over.

Tito Vilanova told the player before he departed that he was the 'future of Barcelona' in a bid to sway his mind to stay.

The reason his purchase price is so low is because he played below a stipulated number of minutes this season for the club, scoring three goals and providing nine assists along the way.

But as Spanish newspaper AS have reported, Thiago is actually more advanced in his first two seasons in at Barcelona than the players he is trying to displace.

Thiago played 45 games in his first season and 36 in his second, 81 combined, better than both his illustrious teammates.

In Xavi's first season he played 24 times and then 34 the next, 58 combined, while Andres Iniesta nine times in his first season and 17 in his second.

Both players have blossomed into not only superstars, but players who will be remembered in the history of world football as the best in their era.

This is why Thiago wants to move on to play more regularly now as he believes he is ready and won't get the opportunities and dislodge either permanently soon.

But it also illustrates exactly why Barcelona are desperate to keep him. They know his talent better than any club in the world, and realise that with the coaching at Barcelona and even the guidance of Xavi or Iniesta he can develop into the very best.

Even Xavi has urged him to be patient, and the case for Thiago staying certainly is a strong one. Which is why any suitors like Manchester United will have to put together an enticing proposal to tempt him away despite his opportunity to do so.

Would it be a mistake for Thiago to leave Barcelona?

image: © castroquini2011

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