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Thiago "has chosen Manchester United"

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial states that Barcelona are aware that Thiago has decided to join Manchester United, and will arrange the departure in a final meeting with the player.

David Ramos

The latest in the long-running Thiago transfer is that El Confidencial say that Barcelona are aware that Thiago has chosen Manchester United, but want to hear it from the player himself, so have granted the request for a last meeting so that the player, his dad, and his agent can announce their intentions to leave. Neatly, this backs up a story from yesterday's AS, in our gossip round-up.

We've suspected before that Thiago may already have decided he wants to go to United - which would explain why he's disappearing off on holiday as the saga rumbles on. That doesn't mean it's a done deal, of course, but let's put this into perspective. One of the best midfield talents in the world is available for a third of his real value, and yet there's been no huge bidding war. Chelsea have been linked, but with none of the detail and persistence of the United reports. Bayern Munich have been mentioned, but the same is true there, and there's been next to nothing about it in the German press.

So, we can assume that a deal for Thiago to join United is, in effect, done. Barcelona, then, will have one last chance to convince him otherwise, which is looking less and less likely, but still a possibility. This one is almost certainly a two-horse race.

The good news is that the Spanish press don't appear to hold out much hope of Barcelona doing that. To retread old ground once more, Thiago is leaving because he isn't getting enough games, and he's not getting enough games for a reason - Barcelona's midfield. That situation is simply not going to change so it's hard to see what they could do to convince him to stay beyond emotional appeals, which is what they've relied on so far.

It's been reported elsewhere that United want to get this one wrapped up before the tour begins on the 10th of July, but they'll want to get things wrapped up sooner than that. Personally, I'd be surprised if this one drags on beyond the end of this month. As things progress, the potential options appear to be closing off. It's United or Barca now, and if their last attempt fails, then the Catalans are likely to give up.

Hopefully we'll be able to celebrate the end of this with a rare delight. Years of Glazernomics have starved us of this sort of action - I don't know about you, but I'm well past the "gutted if we don't get him" stage and well into the "not going to be able to look at him play football for a few years without feeling considerable pain if he doesn't sign for us" region.