Barcelona youngster Thiago Alcantara is one of European football's hottest properties - and he looks certain to be departing the Nou Camp this summer.

The 22-year-old has become unhappy at with his lack of first-team football at his current club, having to compete with the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas for the central midfield positions.

In 2011 he signed a contract extension that would have taken him to 2015. This contract had a €90m buyout clause, but this has since been slashed to €18m because he failed to play a fixed number of games.

Current speculation is linking the player with Manchester United, Chelsea, and Real Madrid, with Old Trafford being the most likely destination for the Spain international.

Barcelona are unlikely to be willing to sell to their major rivals, and the player himself is unlikely to want to fight Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, and Oscar for game time at Chelsea as competition for places is what is driving his departure from the Nou Camp.

Manchester United, on the other hand, could be a perfect fit as they look to replace the retired Paul Scholes and possibly Anderson, whose future at Old Trafford looks uncertain.

Manchester United have also been in talks with Thiago's club and international team-mate Cesc Fabregas, although that deal looks like being far from simple.

Fabregas has attracted interest from several other top European, but the Spaniard's former club Arsenal have first refusal on the World Cup winner.


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