Pep Guardiola’s pursuit of Thiago Alcantara has caused a storm back in Spain and he has quickly become public enemy number one.
Despite having spent nearly 20 years there as a player and five years as a manager, in which he picked up 14 major trophies, Guardiola is having his name dragged through the mud and is ‘changing the environment’ according to Sphera following his comments both about pursuing Thiago and of his discontent with the Barcelona board following his resignation.
The Bayern Munich manager was the first person to publicly declare his interest in Thiago. Despite United’s strong links with the player, no official interest was ever confirmed by the club. It was a smart move by Guardiola and he made it abundantly clear how highly he is regarded by his ex-manager and how important he would be at Munich.
David Moyes insisted that he would not talk about players who are under contract but as Thiago has a publicly known €18 million release clause, it would not have been tapping him up to say that United were looking at signing him and it would be a good show of faith to Thiago. Sometimes silence can be more damaging than beneficial.
AS – Guardiola sends dynamite to Barca
Mundo Deportivo – Guardiola on the attack
SPORT – Pep declares war and takes Thiago
Guardiola’s side are Barcelona’s biggest threat to European glory, alongside Real Madrid, so the last thing they would want to do is willingly help their rival.
Certainly, if there was no release clause and Barcelona had to have their say in where Thiago went, you could put your house on them blocking his move to Munich.
But in this situation, it is down to what Thiago wants to do and he now faces a harder decision than he had just 24 hours ago.
The decision now looks like it is not a case of if he leaves Barcelona but what club he will join. If he follows Guardiola to Munich, he would risk burning bridges with Barcelona having been there for eight years. Although it would be romantic to play under the manager who gave him senior debut, would that be a risk he would be willing to take? Is he attached enough to Barcelona for it to influence his decision?
If he joined United, he would be guaranteed more first team football, have the release clause in the contract he desires and satisfy Barcelona by simply not going to Guardiola’s Munich.
As it stands, it looks like a straight tug-of-war between Munich and United. On paper, both have their benefits over each other and it is now up to Thiago to simply choose the club he feels can offer him the most.