You have to give it to Pep Guardiola: he really knows how to make a player feel valued. If Bayern Munich get this deal done for Thiago – and the overdrive in the story this morning seems to indicate they will – it will signal another eye watering acquisition by a club who it was previously thought could get no stronger.
So would this represent a bad move for Thiago if he was to choose Bavaria over Manchester? Well not really. Guardiola wouldn’t buy him for the sake of it. Remember, it was Guardiola who coached him in the Barcelona B team, and it was Guardiola who brought him up into the senior team and offered him his first real steps in the big leagues.
There’s no doubt about the seat of power on offer for the player at Manchester United. The club have long been on the hunt/in need of a player of Thiago’s quality. He could run the club’s midfield well into the future and would have the platform to force his way into the Spanish national team, even though his talent merits a place in the future anyway.
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But how many players can turn down Bayern Munich, even more so with Guardiola as their manager? There wouldn’t be any worry from the player’s perspective as to where he’d fit in. The indication always seemed to be that Guardiola would push Javi Martinez into the centre-back position, addressing the problem of Holgar Badstuber’s absence through injury and also adding that ball-playing defender into the team. It’s no secret that Guardiola is an admirer of Martinez in the centre-back position. The manager was a fan of Marcelo Bielsa’s use of him there during Athletic Bilbao’s unforgettable run in the Europa League and Copa Del Rey, and the two managers’ friendship would also have played a part in Guardiola opting for this change at Bayern.
Moreover, there is the likelihood of Bayern switching to a three-man midfield, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Thiago, and Mario Goetze playing the false nine. The depth in midfield and attack would make Bayern favourites to land another European Cup next season, while youngsters like Emre Can will also be pushing for a place in the team.
There’s clearly a plan in place from Guardiola’s point of view and Bayern won’t stand in his way if he wants to bring in his own ideas. If the Catalan is targeting Thiago, it’s with a clear purpose in mind. The midfielder is already said to have spoken with the new Bayern manager and Guardiola, per his most recent press conference, has made the Bayern board aware of his desire to bring Thiago to the Allianz.
Were it to be a case of Barcelona or Manchester United then there is only one choice for the midfielder. Even with Neymar on board at the Camp Nou, Thiago’s path to regular first-team football would be restricted. Remember, Thiago was allowed to play in the centre of midfield due to Andres Iniesta or Cesc Fabregas filling in on the left flank through David Villa’s absence. Neymar, like Lionel Messi, is not in the business of missing games, no matter how insignificant they are.
Manchester United are also, for now at least, not on the same plateau as Bayern. The Bundesliga outfit have dominated Europe in much the same way Guardiola’s Barcelona did, certainly with more power and an equal yet distinctly German characterisation to their aggression. Thiago would be foolish not to go and pair up with Guardiola once again. The player will certainly ask himself what United and the Premier League can offer that is as exciting as the growing reputation of the Bundesliga and the current best team in Europe.
Would Thiago be making a mistake if he chose Bayern over Man United?
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