As ever in the transfer market, certain players quickly become underrated and overrated as part of a summer of rumour-mongering, with top targets talked up until they are seen as the saviour of a side, and suddenly unwanted players quickly dismissed as past it.
Manchester United are at the centre of two major transfer sagas this summer, with Wayne Rooney still a target for other clubs despite David Moyes’ insistence the previously wantaway striker was set to stay at Old Trafford, and Thiago Alcantara perhaps ready to swap Barcelona for the Premier League champions.
For a 22-year-old with just 68 La Liga appearances under his belt, Thiago has gained a huge reputation to the point that Manchester United would be happy to pay £17million on him as the key figure in a midfield revamp this summer.
Meanwhile Rooney, a man who has played 400 games for Manchester United and scored 197 goals, along with 36 for England, is apparently expendable.
Both the excitement around Thiago and Rooney’s fall from grace are somewhat justifiable, but would Manchester United be happy to accept a deal that involved the striker going to Barcelona in exchange for the 22-year-old plus cash?
Barcelona are one of the sides reportedly interested in Rooney, and if they feel they are likely to lose Thiago due to his sell-on clause anyway, they might consider trying to change the deal to see the Manchester United striker move the other way.
United need at least one midfielder this summer, and if they sign Thiago they might plan to also bring in a more physical defensive presence to play alongside him. Having Thiago arrive without spending any money on him, plus moving Rooney’s huge wages off the bill, might be the best way to continue the restructure of their squad.
Clearly United have plenty of negotiating power, and might prefer to simply pay the money for Thiago. But if Barcelona were prepared to offer Thiago plus a fee for Rooney, would they be happy to see the striker leave?
image: © castroquini2011