Barcelona starlet Thiago Alcantara was tipped as one of FIFA’s players to watch for 2012 yet the midfield talent never truly made an impact on the Barca first-team during that calendar year. After suffering with injury problems and the fact he was competing for first-team football with some of the world’s best midfielders it was always going to be a struggle.
And 2013 has not been decidedly better for the Spanish international son of Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho.
While on paper his 36 games played in the Barca first-team for 2012-13 does not look bad at all the majority of those appearances came as a substitute; and at the age of 22 you can understand why he may be getting itchy feet.
It has led to several big teams being linked to his transfer and Manchester United have been the English team most consistently linked with his signature.
That speculation has only been helped by the news regarding his minimum fee release clause.
It had been reported that Thiago originally had in place a whopping release fee of €90 million but in the event he did not feature in enough games for the club this season, that fee would drop to just €18 million.
But Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has moved to clarify the situation:
‘’ [The clause] is poorly explained. It's the other way round, if he had played the necessary number of games, the clause would have risen from 18m euros to 90m.’’
So the press seem to have got it wrong over the past few weeks and the timed deadline release clause that we have all been led to believe exists doesn’t according to Rosell. Not that it matters as he also reiterates the fact that at this moment Thiago Alcantara is available for €18 million and in fact he was never hooked up to a release clause of €90 million at all.
That news should come as good news to Manchester United fans who would like to see Alcantara playing at Old Trafford next season.
But Rosell also made it clear that Barca did not want to sell; and pleaded personally to Thiago to stay at the Nou Camp:
"I understand that he wants to play more games, but I'd like him to stay on at the club and become as important as Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. Now they are recognised by the world. It took time for all of them to become regular starters, there’s a lot of competition. I would like it if he had the patience the others had.”
United fans better hope Thiago is an impatient man this summer.
image: © castroquini2011