Who is he? Where does he play?
He is another off the Barcelona production line, the immensely gifted midfield graduate of the famed La Masia academy in Catalonia and potential heir to the aging Xavi. He is 22, has 3 caps for Spain despite being born in Italy and is hogging all the newspaper gossip column space as he seems on the verge of heading to Manchester United.
Leaving the sunny, success-laden Barcelona for Salford?!?
Yes, he may be mad but he also seems to be hugely ambitious, aiming to move to Manchester United in the search for more first team football after being limited to just 15 starts last season under Tito Vilanova. That has dropped his release clause from 90 million euros to 18 million euros as he appeared for less than 30 minutes in 60% of Barcelona's games last season. All work and no play makes Thiago a dull boy, clamoring for an apparent move to the Premier League champions.
What's Vilanova playing at?
He did have Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Busquets and co. at his disposal after all, Thiago faces a massive competition for places at Barcelona but he did manage 41 appearances under Pep Guardiola the year before, the year after winning the Under-21 European Championship with Spain and signing a new four year deal at the Nou Camp worth £30k a week. There is no doubting his potential or talent, just his misfortune at having to compete with a generation of phenomenally gifted players as he wants to break into Vincent Del Bosque's permanent plans ahead of next year's World Cup, he currently has 3 caps.
So Manchester United are giving him a way out?
Reportedly set to offer him an eye-watering £6.2 million a year, it certainly looks like David Moyes wants to make him his first significant import as Old Trafford boss. He will undoubtedly fill the troublesome central-midfield slot at the club in which Michael Carrick is the only established talent. Alcantara's genius in carrying the ball from deep, beating players or even dictating the tempo with smart, measured passes ahead of the defence will be a massive asset to Moyes's United, as it was to Spain's under-21s as they triumphed in this summer's European Championships in Israel.
What will they get for their money?
For a reported £17 million, they will get fine balance which allows his diminutive 5ft 7 inch frame to spin away from the more imposing players in the centre of the field. He can create chances with nimble footwork just as he can take them, as his hat-trick against Italy under-21s out in Israel showed. If Thiago does decide to move to Manchester, Barcelona will lose a hugely talented member of their squad and that is testament enough to his promise.