Long-term Manchester United target Thiago Alcantara is reported to be set for crisis talks with current club Barcelona, as the Catalans make one final attempt to sway him from a move to Old Trafford.
It is believed the 22-year-old has agreed personal terms on a £5.5million deal with the English champions. But Tito Vilanova’s side are desperate to persuade the Spaniard he is among the next generation of Nou Camp superstars.
Unfortunately they weren’t so keen to express that in recent seasons, and with a World Cup swiftly approaching, Thiago looks likely to move on.
Former Barcelona boss Johan Cruyff has urged him to do so...if he is not guaranteed playing-time at the Dutchman's former club.
"If he really has little chance to play then he has to go," Cruyff said.
This story has been going on too long now to simply be an attempt by the player’s representatives to get more playing time in La Liga. United are even reported to have gathered character references on the player prior to his potential move. And the simple fact is, David Moyes is on the verge of doing what his predecessor didn’t manage for quite some time – signing a potentially world class creative midfielder.
Speaking of world class, rumours persist that United are seeking a return for Cristiano Ronaldo; and yet new Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of his excitement at working with the Portuguese forward next season.
“My opinion is easy,” he said, “Ronaldo’s a fantastic, marvellous player.
“He will be on the list of players I coached now and I am so happy for that.”
At least from Ancelotti’s point of view, the former United favourite is going nowhere. And the question must be asked: would he have agreed to join Real if Ronaldo was set to leave?
United have confirmed one departure in the last few hours – that of coach Rene Meulensteen. And the Dutchman has had his say on the Wayne Rooney rumours.
“I don’t think Wayne and I were that closely connected,” he said. “Wayne has his own agenda, he’s a young player, still in his prime.
“I hope he stays but it’s obviously not up to me to decide and whatever he decides to do I wish him all the best.”
Rooney’s “agenda” may be discovered over time. But there is little doubt that Moyes will wish to settle the player’s future one way or the other at the first available opportunity.