Will Bayern have beaten Manchester United to three men they really wanted?

Pep Guardiola

Just how much are Manchester United's plans being affected by the Bayern Munich juggernaut?

Bayern Munich were a machine last season.

They steamrollered all comers in the Bundesliga last season, finishing 25 points ahead of second placed Borussia Dortmund, and that was before they signed Mario Gotze from them.

Then they won the Champions League, demolishing Barcelona on the way, pulling off an astonishing 7-0 aggregate scoreline.

If one side needed Pep Guardiola to make them stronger, it really was not Bayern.

They pulled off the deal back in January, likely before Manchester United had even been notified of Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to retire.

Had Guardiola been available, would United have ended up with David Moyes in charge?

Ferguson knew all about Guardiola's quality as a manager, defeated in two Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011 by his Barcelona side.

Guardiola's decision to take charge at Bayern Munich is not so far as changing the European landscape as they are already champions of the continent, but reinforcing it.

For now he firmly has his feet under the table at the German giants, Manchester United are one of the affected clubs.

Robert Lewandowski was a long-term target for the Red Devils, who had hoped to snap him up from Dortmund with one year left on his current deal.

Instead the striker has been swayed by Guardiola's Bayern, categorical that he wishes to remain in Germany, and see out the final 12 months of his deal and switch on a free next summer.

Now it looks as though Thiago Alcantara, the midfielder United desperately wanted, is too heading for Bavaria.

His agent is Pere Guardiola, Pep's brother, and Bayern have confirmed they are ready to not only pay his release clause, but offer him the prominent role in the team he wants, under the manager who oversaw his development at Barcelona.

Guardiola's installing as manager appears to have been the catalyst for Bayern getting even stronger and United being forced to consider alternatives.

When Lewandowski links up with Bayern next summer and potentially Guardiola and potentially Thiago, the saddest faces could be in Manchester, with fans looking on at the trio and wishing what might have been.

How much of a role is Guardiola v Moyes playing in Thiago's decision?

image: © tpower1978

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch