By DAN KARELL
For the first time in the summer transfer window, Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has raided his former club for a burgeoning talent.
The German side completed a deal for Barcelona and Spain Under-21 Thiago Alcantara worth a total of €25 million ($32.56 million), reuniting Thiago with Guardiola after two years apart. The transfer for Thiago came in just in the last week, despite plenty of interest from Manchester United this summer. The transfer will also include a friendly match between the two sides, with Barcelona keeping the gate receipts.
Thiago, who signed a four-year contract with Bayern, said recently that he was looking for a club where he could get playing time. However, he’ll be joining a stacked midfield including Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and countrymen Javi Martinez.
Earning the praises of Guardiola, Thiago will be expected to step in and show why he won this summer’s MVP honors at the Euro Under-21 championships. Last season, Thiago played 36 matches, scoring three times in all competitions for Barcelona.
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MAN UNITED MAKES BID FOR FABREGAS
In response to missing out on Thiago, it seems that David Moyes and Manchester United haven’t looked far for their second option.
Last season’s English Premier League champions have submitted a transfer bid of €30 million ($39 million) for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, hoping to lure the former Arsenal man to Old Trafford, according to reports in England. Though Fabregas has denied wanting to leave, reports state that he could be interested in a move back to the EPL due to his tough time getting into the Barcelona side for big matches.
Since moving to Barcelona two seasons ago from Arsenal, Fabregas has featured mostly in La Liga and Copa Del Rey matches, but only started half of the team’s Champions League matches, sitting on the bench eight times, including the 4-0 defeat last year to Bayern Munich.
FRANCE WIN UNDER-20 WORLD CUP
Though it’s not always the case, the team with arguably the best individual talent in the tournament took home the championship.
France, featuring the likes of Paul Pogba, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Yaya Sanogo, Kurt Zouma, Florian Thauvin, and more, won the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in penalty kicks, defeating Uruguay in the final in Istanbul, Turkey, after the two sides failed to score in regulation and extra time.
French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola came up huge in the penalty kick shootout, saving Uruguay two penalties while the eventual winners scored all four of their attempts. Defender Dimitri Foulquier, who had started in every match of the tournament, scored the cup-winning penalty kick, leading to mass celebrations on the field for the French squad.
Earlier in the day, Ghana defeated Iraq, 3-0. The tournament awards went to Pogba (Golden Ball), Ebenezer Assifuah of Ghana (Golden Shoe, six goals), and goalkeeper Guillermo de Amores of Uruguay (Golden Glove).
Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic is reportedly nearing a move to Manchester City, having been left off the Italian side’s pre-season roster. (REPORT)
Steven Gerrard will sign a new contract with Liverpool. (REPORT)
AC Milan are likely to sign Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda in January from CSKA Moscow. (REPORT)
Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly made a bid in excess of €35 million for AS Roma defender Marquinhos. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you like Thiago’s move to Bayern? Do you see Fabregas returning to the EPL? Impressed by France in the Under-20 World Cup?
Share your thoughts below.
I don’t see how or why Fabregas would want to leave Barca. Sure he isn’t the first choice, who would be with Xavi/Iniesta. Xavi isn’t getting younger though and Fabregas if not this season, then next, will surely become first choice for the long term. He must have known this coming in…
I agree with that. I’m assuming the Manutd is a long shot if Fabregas is smart.
For all the doomsdayers about our youth teams. How do you feel about our U20 team tieing and playing well possession wise against the eventual champions? I understand we didn’t get out of the group but if youth play is about potential, I think these players have quite a bit of potential.
Do not see why Fabregas would move at this point. The players he competes with at Barca are only getting older (Xavi/Iniesta) or sold (Thiago), he could play in some big games for them this year. Also as an Arsenal fan would be extremely annoyed if he moved to United, most of us were eventually able to cope with the whole Barca dna bs but to move to United would be trash
As Borussia Dortmund fan, I can only look at Gotze and continue to be boggled. I understand wanting to play for the prestige with Bayern, but why leave a team where you’re the number one guy to go be on eof 8 or 9 guys. Does not compute
Also a big Dortmund fan and also cannot figure it out and also do not think very highly of Gotze for doing it. Any other team but Bayern, would have been no problem. But it appears with the signing of Thiago, that things get very uncomfortable for Gotze at Bayern. Pep even made some comments a few days ago basically dismissing Gotze and implying that Thiago is better and is the player he wants. Quite frankly, I don’t think Pep is going to fit in at Bayern and I will not be surprised to see him gone before the end of the season. Not saying it will definitely happen, only saying I think Pep and Bayern is not a match made in heaven.
The new Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles has publicly stated he intends to dethrone Tim Howard and become Everton’s starting GK. And Robles was at Wigan so knows him, while Everton’s former GK coach has moved to Man. U with Moyes.
And Robles was at Wigan so knows *new Everton coach Martinez*
Could be what Guzan needs to finally take over.
No doubt about it, USMNT goalkeepers have to be starters. Just have to be. Other positions, I think there is a bit of wiggle room. But not goalkeepers. And Martinez apparently has publicly spoken about how great Robles is and makes me wonder whether Tim maybe ought to consider moving on. Whenever a new coach comes in and brings players from his previous team this is always a warning sign, and what we are seeing now at FC Bayern with Guardiola and Thiago.
What backup doens’t want to dethrone the starter? I’ll believe it when I see it.
The point is more that Roberto brought his keeper with him and the coaches favorable to Howard have moved on without him. Not a good situation for any goalkeeper to be in.
Yeah I mean it’s not like he’s going to say “I’m thrilled sitting on the bench doing nothing”
Moyes is just taking shot in the dark at this point. Regardless–Arsenal have right of first refusal and will take a decent cut of his transfer fee per his original move to Barcelona.
Barcelona won’t go for it. Arsenal certainly won’t go for it. And Moyes’ action would give Arsenal a chunk of money for a player that doesn’t fit in the United system anyways.
The Thiago deal has the potential to create massive problems on at FC Bayern. I cannot imagine Thiago going to Bayern unless he was pretty much promised a starting spot and that means a German international, such as Gotze or Kroos or Mueller might be riding the bench. Plus, Guardiola has indicated he might move Javi Martinez, who paired with Schweinsteiger as a Double 6, back to centerback, meaning that German international Jerome Boateng would be sitting on the bench.
This is going to be very fun to watch. I think there is a decent chance that Guardiola is not going to work out at FC Bayern and will end up creating a hornet’s nest of problems not only with the club and sporting director Matthias Sammer (ask Klinsmann what he thinks of Sammer), but also with the German national team. Boy, that would just break my heart 🙂
Haven’t had many blog posts in the last 24 hours Ives. Can’t we cut it down to 2 blogs per page so it looks like you’ve posted content yesterday?
PS Waking up to the shti storm that ensued after my comment in the Sunday Commentary brought a smile to my face. Thanks guys. Totally ready to face the day now.
PPS I still love following you of twitter Ives. Don’t take it personally.
Only makes sense if you’ve read the discussion from yesterday that he refers to there.
As always, total nonsense
Guess our losses to Ghana and Spain and our draw with France don’t look too terrible now
yea..and we were a missed PK from beating France. 2 better CB’s and a better draw and we might have may some noise.
coulda would shoulda….
Sure, this shows how tough the group was but the performances against Spain and Ghana were pretty poor. Tough to put a positive spin on this campaign.