Manchester United and Liverpool could go head-to-head in a race to sign Thiago Alcantara, according to reports in Spain.
AS claims the Barcelona midfielder is on the radar of both Premier League clubs, with his future in Catalonia far from certain after falling down the pecking order at the Nou Camp.
The player’s father, Mazinho, has certainly put clubs on alert with his comments at the end of last week, with The Daily Mail claiming his remarks would re-ignite interest from the Red Devils, after a £15million bid was rejected 18 months ago.
“He’s learning a lot playing with great players but Thiago is very ambitious and needs to play,” said Mazinho, according to the Mail.
“No-one knows what might happen in the future. Football changes a lot and anything can happen. If Thiago wants to go to the 2014 World Cup, he needs to play much more.
“Thiago has the quality to succeed at Barca. But he’d play a lot more at another club. He’d get into any other team in the world. I don’t know if Barca are buying more players in the summer. They already have a lot of players who can play in the middle. Also, [his brother] Rafinha will be part of the first team squad next season.”
Despite having a £25million buyout clause in his contract, a figure £10million below that price would be enough to bring the player to England, according to the paper.
Manchester United aren’t short of quality in midfield, with Shinji Kagawa drafted in last summer to provide Sir Alex Ferguson with some attacking flare.
However, veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are moving closer to retirement at Old Trafford, and will need to be replaced at some stage by the Red Devils.
Alcantara could be the man for Manchester United, but they are unlikely to have things all their own way in a potential transfer race.
Liverpool have also set their sights on the player, according to the Spanish paper, and would love to get one over on their rivals in the transfer market.
The Reds have a number of Spaniards already on their books at Anfield, with Pepe Reina, Suso, Jose Enrique and Daniel Pacheco in-and-around the first team.
Alcantara would certainly add some extra quality to the Liverpool side, and also join an exciting crop of youngsters currently plying their trade under Brendan Rodgers on Merseyside.