FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Rafael Alcántara, Rafinha, to extend the player's contract through June 30 of 2016. Rafinha’s current contract was due to expire on June 30 of 2014. The player’s buy-out clause will be set at 30 million euros. FC Barcelona
Thiago Alcantara's potential exit from Barcelona has been the biggest topic over the past two weeks for most Manchester United fans.
The 22-year-old and Mazinho, his father and agent,reportedly already met officials in Manchester last week to discuss personal terms and Barcelona have given up on the hope of keeping him according to Marca.
With Thiago currently away on holiday, no movement is expected until his return but earlier tonight Barcelona agreed a new deal with Rafinha Alcantara, Thiago's brother, that will see him stay at the club for at least the next three seasons.
The new agreement sees a €30 million release clause placed on the 20-year-old and he will be loaned out to La Liga's Celta Vigo, putting an end to rumours linking him with a loan move to the Premier League.
Given the timing of the announcement, the cynical me looks at this Rafinha deal as a last ditch effort from Barcelona to try and change Thiago's mindset to get him to stay at the Nou Camp.
Fans have voiced their own opinion and it is clear that they want him to stay at the club but Thiago has voiced his desire of regular first team football, and Barcelona know they cannot offer it to him in the same fashion that United can. Even a new deal with improved terms won't allow Thiago to establish himself in the already saturated midfield at Barcelona.
But this move to tie Rafinha down to a longer deal at the Nou Camp will no doubt have an influence on Thiago's future given that Mazinho will be directly involved in the negotiations with his son. It would be impossible for Thiago to not look at the situation of his brother and think about staying himself.
However, if Thiago is committed to forcing his way into Spain's 2014 World Cup squad, then staying at Barcelona and risking a bit part involvement next year isn't really an option.
Moving to United would allow Thiago to play every week at the highest level and it would be a partnership that would solve problems for both the player and club given United's midfield deficiencies.
At Old Trafford, he would have the opportunity to spearhead the midfield. He wouldn't have to play a supporting part and it would be a role that Thiago could blossom in. In the U21 European Championships, that was the role he was given and he blossomed with his text book hat-trick in the final against Italy the perfect example of just how good he can be.
With David Moyes officially taking over as United manager on July 1, genuine movement is expected in the transfer window from Old Trafford and if Thiago decides to follow through on the rumours, then he could become the first major signing of a new era.