In yesterday’s edition of SPORT, the front page splash ran the story that Barcelona were ready to offer Manchester United Thiago Alcantara and David Villa in return for Wayne Rooney plus cash claim Catalan newspaper.
The Spanish paper have adopted United stories as their front cover recently and these claims suggested Rooney could move to Spain for £30 million with Thiago and Villa going in the opposite direction for £26 million.
But Barcelona have confirmed an agreement to sell Villa to Atletico Madrid for €5 million to put an end to the Villa rumours as quickly as they started.
Villa moving to United as part of a deal for Rooney made no sense whatsoever. Why would United want to sign a 31-year-old striker who is on the decline and let a 27-year-old world class striker leave?
Plus, the first thing that popped into my mind when you mentioned Villa was the goal he scored against us in the 2011 Champions League final. Despite that, €5 million for Villa is a bargain given that he is Spain’s all-time record goalscorer so fair play to Atletico.
In a Barcelona fans survey of what striker they would like to see brought to the club, Rooney topped the poll with a 35% majority over Lewandowski (27%) and a front three of Neymar, Messi and Rooney would be frightening.
But with David Moyes’ firm stance that he is not for sale, Rooney looks set to stay at United. However, he certainly has some way to go with fans given that he has twice burned bridges with them by handing in two separate transfer requests.
As for Thiago, it is only a matter of time before we have confirmation of his interest with United either way but given the press that has been released since his €18 million clause went public, I’d be surprised if he stayed at Barcelona.
Papers are already talking about how it is best if he left to let other players like Sergi Roberto and his younger brother come through. They haven’t given much time to trying to convince Thiago to stay at Barcelona, which can only be a good thing for United.