Speculation has been growing in recent weeks over the future of Barcelona and Spanish U21 starlet Thiago Alcantara. If Twitter and numerous tabloid newspapers are to be believed it looks almost certain that the 22-year-old will be joining serial Premier League winners Manchester United within the next few days to become the poster boy for the Red Devils new era under David Moyes.
Thiago is a CM/CAM player in the mold of Andres Iniesta, he has superb close ball control and excellent vision, which is why it is hard to understand why Barcelona aren't tying this youngster down with a long term contract and a lofty buy-out clause. He has the potential and the ability to become one of the best in the world, his performance during the European U21 final is evidence of this.
One of his many strengths is his ability to keep control of the ball in almost any situation, his first touch is brilliant and as soon as he receives the ball he looks to move it on or into space. Thiago's vision is second to none, playing on a pitch with Xavi and Iniesta would make most players look ordinary but the youngsters eye for a killer pass is just as good as his Barcelona peers. He also possesses the ability to shoot from range with power and accuracy. With a skill set like this it is easy to see why Manchester United are desperate for his signature.
Like all young players though, Thiago still has areas of his game that he can improve. He needs to work on his ability to defend when needed and his tackling skills will need some work if he is to move to the Premier League. One other thing is his close range finishing, he can get into the positions but is sometimes let down by either shooting wide or not picking the right spot to shoot. These things though, with coaching and training can be sorted fairly easily.
Thiago has all the attributes needed to become successful at Manchester United in the Premier League and would no doubt blossom into a tremendous talent under the tutorship of David Moyes and the rest of the Old Trafford hierarchy.
Strengths: Ball control, Vision, Dribbling, Long range shooting
Weaknesses: Defending/tackling, Close range finishing