It is being reported from many quarters that David Moyes is hard bent to bring Thiago Alcântara to Old Trafford as he looks to improve his midfield setup. Thiago was once trusted by Pep Guardiola and featured regularly into the first team. However the youngsters has had a difficult season under Tito Vilanova as he was unable to break into the first team with the likes of Xavi, Fabregas and Iniesta agead of him which has given way to all these speculations. According to Spanish newspaper Marca, a deal to bring Thiago to Manchester would cost Moyes around £18m, which though hefty should not bar the United management to make a move for the 22 year old.
United stars including David De Gea and Rio Ferdinand have already lauded the Spanish youngster in public. It is said that the Manchester United goalkeeper looks to have scribbled ‘See you in Manchester!’ on Thiago’s Euro Under-21 final match-ball, while Rio Ferdinand has Tweeted about his performances.
Spain u21s were too much! Thiago wants the ball under pressure,he demands it anywhere. We need to produce that kind of mentality in our kids
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) June 18, 2013
So, coming back to United’s point of view, would Thiago’s presence add more value to the team? Well, it is still early days, but what does it mean to Tom Cleverly? While Thiago may add strength to the attacking side of the game, United are also pursuing PSV Eindhoven midfielder Kevin Strootman for sometime now, and if they managed to sign both the midfielders, it leaves the English midfielder Cleverly in an uncomfortable position as he does not deserve to warm the bench at Old Trafford. Also selling him would rather not be a wise choice as the midfielder has impressed many with his performances till now instilling the belief that he has a bright future ahead of him.
Considering United sign both Strootman and Thiago, they would have 4 midfielders apart from Kagawa who would could play in a more advanced role. Thiago + Carrick and Strootman+ Cleverly just in front of the defenders looks a solid bet in a 4-4-1-1 formation which Moyes usually deploys.
Finally I would like to compare Thiago and Cleverley’s stats from their performance over the past season and then analyse why Thiago could be such a vital part of the United’s midfield.
For starters, both the player’s capabilities were never fully exploited by their managers in the previous season for various reasons and thus while Thiago featured in 27 league games for the team, Cleverly was just part of 22 outings. Both of them are not avid goal scorers and thus it is no surprise that they could not accumulate more than two goals each.
But what really sets them apart is the fact that Thiago has had 55% shot accuracy while Cleverly could just manage 36%, a figure he would not be too proud of. Both of them can boast of 90% or more average pass accuracy, but while a large part of Cleverly’s passes were lateral, Thiago’s passes were more direct and helped in the attacking of the team.
While Thiago had to acquire those figures playing in a star studded midfield of Iniesta and Xavi, United practically had very few decent performers in the midfield. This makes Thiago’s achievements even more exciting and thus Moyes would definitely benefit from the transfer in of Thiago.