Did Manchester United dodge an €18m bullet this summer?

Thiago Alcantara

Manchester United very nearly signed Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona this summer, but he instead went to Bayern Munich - and almost immediately got injured.

This summer saw plenty of teams linked with the signature of Barcelona creative midfielder Thiago Alcantara - especially after he starred in the Spanish Under-21 Championships this summer.

Not to mention the fact his contract with Barcelona now included a very affordable release clause thanks to him not playing enough games for the Catalan club the year previous.

The two teams most heavily linked with his signature were Manchester United and Bayern Munich - even if in the failure post-mortem David Moyes suggested he did not make the move for the player it is generally believed contact was made.

And seeing as he was available at €18 million it made perfect sense.

But in the end he went to Bayern Munich - and it appears in the short-term at least, that United could have dodged something of a bullet.

Even before he went to Bayern the midfielder has demonstrated an unfortunate knack for getting injured.

He suffered a persistent knee problem throughout the 2012 calendar year - and now he has suffered another problem.

So far he has played just 87 minutes of Bundesliga football for the Bavarians - before straining ankle ligaments against Nurnberg on the 24th August.

He returned to light training at the end of last month, but is still only doing light running for 45 minutes, and is not expected to return to first-team action before December.

Effectively, United would have been spending around £15 million on a Spanish international who in the long-term would be a great signing, but would not have helped the clubs troubles so far this season - instead sitting on the treatment table until the start of December. He then would have spent another month recovering up to first-team football.

They effectively would have been without their biggest summer signing until 2014 - when another transfer window would have ruled around.

United appear to have dodged a bullet on Thiago Alcantara, at least for now, but only the future will tell if in the long run they should have invested.

Or if this 22-year-old's career will continue to be perpetuated by unfortunate injuries at unfortunate times.

image: © castroquini2011

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