‘When’ now seems a more appropriate word than ‘if’ in discussions over Thiago Alcantara’s proposed move to Manchester United, but the latest twist is Barcelona’s intentions to involve two other players in the deal.
It is now just 1/8 that Man Utd sign Thiago during the summer transfer window and the transfer has reportedly been very close for a few days.
There has been some speculation that Thiago’s father has sold his restaurant in Barcelona, which would lend weight to the deal, while other rumours indicate that the Spaniard is satisfied that first-team opportunities will be more frequent at Old Trafford.
However, Barcelona are keen to acquire Wayne Rooney as part of an overall package worth €30m. The reigning La Liga champions are prepared to offer €4m cash, alongside Thiago and David Villa.
Given that Villa has little resale value, David Moyes may not be overly keen on this deal, but there is every reason to believe that the 31-year-old could be more valuable than Rooney for the upcoming campaign if Man Utd decide to play with a lone striker.
Villa has spent the last few years playing on the left side of a front three at Barcelona and could flourish in a similar position at Man Utd, especially if the club decide to sell Nani, with rumoured interest from Tottenham.
This is not a position that Rooney has played often and if he stayed at Old Trafford he could limit the impact of Shinji Kagawa, who would probably end up being shunted wide so that Rooney could play in the number 10 role just off the striker.
Rooney is still favoured to stay at Manchester United and the price is 1/3 that he has not departed by September 1st. But there may now be some mileage in the 12/1 that Rooney has joined Barcelona by the closing of the summer transfer window.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.