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Manchester City and Chelsea set for disappointment as Barcelona battle to keep Thiago Alcantara

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29 Dec 2010 16:54:01

Manchester City and Chelsea set for disappointment as Barcelona battle to keep Thiago Alcantara

Barca boy: Alcantara is tipped for the top Barcelona are ready to fast-track Thiago Alcantara in a bid to see off interest from Chelsea and Manchester City. The Barclays Premier League duo are lurking as the 19-year-old stalls on signing a new contract with the Spanish champions. Alcantara is out of contract at the end of season after penning only a one-year deal amid interest from Chelsea last summer. His father is former Brazil midfielder Mazinho - a World Cup winner in 1994 - who looks after Thiago and younger son Rafael's contracts at Barca. Pep Guardiola is keen to incorporate Thiago in the first team when opportunities arise in a bid to show the Spain Under 21 international that he has a future at the Camp Nou. But the diminutive midfielder faces huge competition from the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta to get a regular start and could be concerned by the club's continued pursuit of Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas. Bolton tried to take Alcantara on loan at the start of the season but Guardiola retained the Italy-born player and has recently given him starts in Champions League and Spanish Cup matches. He started the season playing for Barcelona B but will be formally moved across to the senior side for the second half of the season, having been given four recent La Liga run-outs from the bench. Barca are confident of reaching an agreement, but have set a deadline of January 31 for contract talks and fear the future of 17-year-old Rafael, a striker, is linked to his older brother.   Man City 4 Aston Villa 0: Mario bags a hat-trick but insists: I'm not homesickArsenal 3 Chelsea 1: Gunners on fire as Walcott hands Carlo nightmareWatch all the Premier League goals every week on our brilliant Yahoo video playerCHELSEA FC


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