Guardiola's tactical masterplan to steal Thiago away from Manchester United

Pep Guardiola

By using Javi Martinez and Mario Gotze in different areas Bayern Munich will need a new central midfielder; with Thiago Alcantara the number one target.

Manchester United are apparently on the verge of signing the star man at this summer’s European under-21 Championships. Thiago Alcantara has been in great form this summer and because of a rather bizarre clause in his current contract he is available for a pitiful €18 million this summer.

Thiago is keen on an apparent departure regardless as he grows tired of waiting for first-team football; something he believes will be made readily available at United.

The fact he already speaks fluent English means that no language barrier would be present and this deal seems imminent.

But United now face a renewed rival in the race for the player.

Pep Guardiola started work at his new club Bayern Munich yesterday with a training session in front of 8,000 Bavarians at the Allianz Arena.

After wowing the press with his excellent German, a task that has obviously kept him busy for the past six months, he got back to work with his current crop of players.

And he reportedly wants to add Thiago, with whom he worked with at Barcelona, to the mix.

But for a player who wants regular first-team football this would be a strange move; as Munich have their plethora of talented midfield players to usurp.

However this is where things get interesting. According to Mundo Deportivo Guardiola is so keen on bringing in Thiago that he is willing to adopt the 3-4-3 formation he occasionally used at Barcelona in order to incorporate him.

But after reading the report and using various combinations of the clubs players this just did not seem viable; but they did raise two key points that did catch my eye.

While a formation switch may not be in the offing some positional rejigs could certainly be at the centre of renewed interest in the bargain Spaniard.

It is rumoured that Guardiola plans on using Javi Martinez, who played centre midfield last term, as a central defender. The Spanish international previously played in that position for Athletic Bilbao and Guardiola has a history of turning midfielders into defenders; Javier Mascherano, Yaya Toure and Sergio Busquets can all testify to that.

Then there is Mario Gotze; who Guardiola reportedly views as his new version of Lionel Messi.

It is rumoured that the current system will be tinkered to accommodate a ‘false nine’ with Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery either side.

That position is likely to go to Gotze or Thomas Muller with Mario Gomez set on a departure and Mario Mandzukic as something of a plan B option.

This rejig would leave Munich short of midfield options; leaving a move for Thiago more than viable.

So while I don’t completely agree with the article they do raise some interesting ideas. Ideas that could end up with a Bayern Munich starting line-up looking like this…

GK: Manuel Neuer

DC: Dante

DC: Javi Martinez

DR: Phillip Lahm

DL: David Alaba

MC: Bastian Schweinsteiger

MC: Thiago Alcantara

MC: Toni Kroos/Franck Ribery

FW: Mario Gotze

FW: Arjen Robben

FW: Franck Ribery/Thomas Mueller

image: © tpower1978

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch