RIVA DEL GARDA: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola confirmed the European champions’ interest in Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
Spanish media had already linked the 22-year-old Alcantara to the Champions League winners and ex-Barcelona coach Guardiola admitted he has asked the Bavarian giants to sign the midfielder.
“Yes, I want Thiago Alcantara, I have asked [Bayern to get him],” said Guardiola at Bayern’s pre-season training camp in north Italy.
“I know him very, very well. He’s a great player and can cover three, four, five positions.
“I have talked to [chairman Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and [director of sport Matthias] Sammer, we will have to wait and see.
“Thiago is the only player I want, it will be him or no one. We have many players, but we need the special qualities he brings.”
Both Manchester United and Real Madrid have been linked to Alcantara, who has a market value of around €20 million and captained Spain under-21 to the European title and was voted player of the tournament.
Alcantara, who has a contract at Barcelona until June 2015, scored a first-half hat-trick as Spain beat Italy 4-2 in the European Under-21 Championships in Jerusalem last month.
Bayern already have several midfield stars with Germany’s Mario Goetze signed from Borussia Dortmund, plus Holland’s Arjen Robben, France’s Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos and Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri vying for places.
“I don’t think adding another midfielder will be a problem for us,” added Guardiola. “I spoke to the club about my concept and told them why I want Thiago. I give my opinion, but I listen to the board. If they say no, that’s okay.
“Nobody will leave Barcelona, unless they feel they won’t play much. He wants to play. That’s why I proposed him to the club.”
Pellegrini plans City youth revolution
Manuel Pellegrini admits part of his remit as Manchester City manager will be to help nurture young talent and save the club spending heavily on transfer fees in the future.
“We have to have a different style here in the club,” said Pellegrini. “I mean a different style in the way City must work in the next few years.
“It is impossible every year to buy three, four, five expensive players. We need a mix with young players, who work exactly the same as the first team, and as the under-21s.
“There are a lot of things we can improve. What Roberto Mancini and the other coaches have done we will continue working at and adding different things.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2013.
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