Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has revealed he wants to sign Spain Under-21 playmaker Thiago Alcantara from FC Barcelona this summer, ESPN understands.
Thiago, 22, has been linked with an exit from the Camp Nou in recent weeks, with Premier League champions Manchester United believed to be leading the race for the 22-year-old’s signature.
However, the Bavarian giants could be set to enter the race for Thiago after new manager Pep Guardiola confirmed his interest in bringing the Spain international, who appears to be the European champions’ top summer transfer target, to the Allianz Arena.
“I want Thiago Alcantara,” Guardiola told a press conference on Thursday.
“I have told [chief executive] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and [sporting director] Matthias Sammer that I want that player. I don’t know what will happen next. We will have to wait and see.
“It is either Thiago or no-one. I know him very, very well. He is a super, super player. He can play three, four, five positions.”
The addition of Thiago would further improve the quality of Bayern’s midfield — which already consists of a number of stars, including the likes of Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo, Mario Götze, Toni Kroos and Xherdan Shaqiri, and promising youngsters, most notably: Emre Can, Mitchell Weiser and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
Thiago, who bagged two goals and five assists in 27 league appearances in all competitions for Barcelona last season, completed a staggering 91.8 percent — 1616/1670 — of his total passes in La Liga in 2012/13. Pass master.
Now then, would Thiago receive more playing time at Bayern Munich than he did at Barcelona last season?
Probably not, making Manchester United the best possible destination for the 22-year-old midfield maestro.
Giaccherini to Sunderland
Juventus manager Antonio Conte has confirmed the Italian champions have accepted a bid from Sunderland A.F.C. for Italy international winger Emanuele Giaccherini, according to Sky Sports.
Sunderland have already completed the signings of seven players, addressing all of their needs, but the arrival of Giaccherini could be the Black Cats’ biggest coup thus far.
Juve were reluctantly forced into selling the highly-regarded Giaccherini in order to strengthen the squad due to the club’s transfer policy.
“Giaccherini was valued, they offered him an important contract,” said Conte.
“I’m happy for him but unhappy for me.
“I’m not happy with the sale of Giaccherini but in times of crisis when you buy you must also make sacrifices.”
Giaccherini, 28, tallied three goals and three assist in 24 competitive appearances for the Bianconeri last term.
The 28-year-old winger will join the likes of Cabral, David Moberg Karlsson, El-Hadji Ba, Jozy Altidore, Modibo Diakité, Valentin Roberge and Vito Mannone at the Stadium of Light next season.