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The Daily Telegraph's Mark Ogden writes...
United close to signing Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara in £17m deal
Manchester United are close to making Thiago Alcantara the first major signing of David Moyes's reign as manager at Old Trafford. Despite efforts this week by Barcelona to persuade the Spain Under-21 captain to reject offers to leave the Nou Camp this summer, it is understood that the attacking midfielder – the son of Brazil World Cup winner Mazinho – is ready to move to United to secure regular first-team football. United are prepared to trigger a £17 million release clause in the 22-year-old’s contract, which is now in play due to Thiago failing to make a required number of appearances for Barcelona last season owing to the presence of Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas at the Spanish champions. Thiago, who emerged as one of the stars of the recent European Under-21 Championship in Israel before scoring a hat-trick in Tuesday’s final against Italy, came close to signing for United two years ago before choosing to stay at Barcelona. But despite being persuaded to remain at the club by former coach Pep Guardiola, Thiago’s frustration at his lack of first-team opportunities have prompted his decision to leave, with the player admitting this week his ineligibility from future under-21 internationals has forced him to consider his prospects of playing for Spain at next year’s World Cup.