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Thiago "excited to join Manchester United"

Thiago Alcantara has reportedly turned down an offer from Real Madrid and is set to join Manchester United, according to Catalan daily Sport.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

The Thiago story takes yet another turn, with Catalan paper Sport reporting that the player has turned down a move to Real Madrid and is excited about joining Manchester United.

We touched on the Real Madrid rumour before, and concluded that a 22-year-old would have to have some considerable guts to pull off a move like that so early in his career, and for that reason (in addition to Real Madrid's midfield being far harder to break into than United's) suggested that such a move was highly unlikely. This now appears to be backed up by the report in Sport.

However, the considerable caveat here is that Sport have been off the mark several times about this saga so far. They recently claimed that he was going to move in a swap deal involving Wayne Rooney and David Villa, before the latter joined Atletico Madrid just two days later. While that doesn't of course mean that the story was entirely made up - the deal could've been offered and rejected by United - it does mar the reliability of these reports.

The encouraging sign, at least, is this: Sport are pretty certain that Thiago will join United now. They suggest that a deal could be tied up basically at any time, and United will probably want to make their move before Monday, when he's expected back at Barcelona for pre-season training.