Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has revealed that he almost joined Manchester United before leaving Barcelona for the Allianz Arena in 2013, confirming it was a possibility.
The young Spaniard was heavily pursued by then-United manager David Moyes during the first summer the club had post-Sir Alex Ferguson, but he instead opted to follow former boss Pep Guardiola to Germany, allowing the tiki-taka technician to oversee the rest of his development.
Alcantara at Bayern
A lengthy injury put paid to his hopes of hitting the ground running in the Bundesliga and since then Alcantara has only made 34 senior appearances for Bayern, this season included, but, as the player himself has insisted, the chance to work once more under Guardiola was simply too good to turn down.
“Yes [I could have joined Man United], but the real possibility was Bayern,” he said, in an interview with The Guardian.
Then, when asked whether he would still be a Barca player if Guardiola had stayed, he replied: “Yes, probably, but I can’t change the past and I prefer to focus on now. You learn something new every day with Pep, a magnificent coach who transmits real passion.”
The failure to land the likes of Thiago and ex-teammate Francesc Fabregas, who at the time committed his future to Barcelona until the following summer, certainly contributed to Moyes’ downfall at United, as many criticised him for his failure to attract big names to Old Trafford.
Of course the 24-year-old probably wouldn’t have been in any position to halt United’s dramatic slide down the Premier League standings, but all the same his snub was one of the first of many Moyes had to endure.
Champions League showdown
In reflection Thiago is probably overjoyed at his decision given how United’s fortunes have contrasted with Bayern’s and now, after a string of injuries to key players, he’s getting his chance to make himself a first-team regular in Germany.
If recent form is to be considered he certainly deserves the chance to start against his old club when Bayern travel to Catalonia for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona tonight.
It was Thiago who gave Guardiola’s men what people the assumed to be a life-line during the shock 3-1 defeat away at FC Porto in the last round of the competition, and the diminutive Spaniard netted the first goal of the 6-1 drubbing Bayern dished out in the return fixture.
Creating the master
Indeed under Guardiola’s masterful tutelage Thiago’s development seems to be traversing a path sure to end in him becoming a complete midfielder.
With time on his side and already possessing immense ability there’s few better places on the planet for him to learn to perfect the flaws in his game, and although Manchester United fans will hate to hear it, Old Trafford isn’t one of them.
United fans, how much of an impact would Thiago have had at Old Trafford? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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