Manchester United have been linked with a move to acquire Bayern Munich and Spain midfielder, Thiago Alcantara. The player has won 7 straight Bundesliga titles with the perennial German champions, but now appears to be looking elsewhere to continue his career.
Thiago, 29, is an extremely gifted passer who excels in possession. He has a reputation as an accurate passer, and though he is capable of playing a more advanced role, he typically sits deeper in midfield. Bayern’s focus on possession elevates his skillset as a playmaker, and from what we’ve seen it makes him an intriguing candidate to continue his career under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And, according to BILD’s Christian Falk, the rumor may have some truth to it.
Though Thiago likely won’t unseat either Bruno Fernandes or Paul Pogba, his presence at the club gives Solskjaer even more options to diversify his tactics and rotate the starting XI. The manager’s midfield options beyond his two stars are currently a bit bare, as Fred and Nemanja Matić are possession winning defensive midfielders and Scott McTominay is a somewhat limited box-to-box role player.
Bringing in Thiago would give United depth at the creative position, something they desperately lack at the moment. Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard have proven to be frustratingly unsuccessful at that role, and Juan Mata’s limitations have been exacerbated as he’s aged over the last two seasons.
Thiago is likely looking for another team that offers him regular first team football, and though his specialty isn’t defense by any means he could provide some extra stability in possession as part of a midfield 3 with Bruno and Pogba. His passing accuracy is historically higher than both, and is a less high risk passing option going forward. Just a couple seasons ago his pass accuracy finished over 90%. Of course with more possession comes less chances for the opposition as well, but it may run the risk of vulnerability on the break without a specialist defensive screen.
The move would certainly be an upgrade to the midfield ranks, and would add another first-team calibre creator for an affordable fee. However, as with Manchester United’s other targets, this move could depend on whether or not the Reds can earn Champions League qualification for next season.