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Thiago set to join Bayern Munich

Tuesday 16th July 2013
It was confirmed on Monday that Thiago Alcantara has agreed to join Bayern Munich on a four year deal pending a medical in a deal thought to be worth 22 million Euros. This saga has been running since it was revealed that Thiago had a clause in his contract. It was speculated, that if Thiago did not play above 60% of the games for Barcelona during the season his release clause would be lowered from 80 million Euros down to 18 million Euros. That Barcelona allowed this to happen is quite extraordinary, long considered the natural heir to Xavi it was a big step to take leaving the club he developed at.

With Xavi reaching 33 years of age, it was assumed that if Thiago was patient enough that he would indeed take his place. However, with the impending World Cup taking place next summer in Brazil Thiago had to put a regular starting place at the top of his priorities. That he chose to join Bayern Munich amid interest from Manchester United seems a peculiar choice. Manchester United have been looking to replace Scholes for the past few seasons but have failed in several attempts to strengthen their midfield, Thiago seemed a natural choice. It had Manchester United fans salivating at the prospect of a partnership alongside Carrick but despite potential first team football he opted to join Bayern Munich.

Munich's midfield is packed with talent. Thiago will have to compete with the likes of Gustavo, Schweinsteiger, Martinez and Kroos for the deeper positions in midfield. If he is looking for guaranteed first-team football than Manchester United rather than Bayern Munich seems the more logical choice. But what ultimately decided Thiago's destination was his longing to be re-united with his tutor and mentor Pep Guardiola. In a press conference he referred to Thiago in glowing terms suggesting that he could 'play in four or five different positions.' Furthermore, he stated that in terms of targets it 'was either Thiago or nothing.' This sense of importance that was placed upon him along with his friendship with Guardiola is what swung the deal in Munich's favour.

The next question is how Pep plans to fit Thiago into an already functioning and ruthlessly efficient unit. If he were to drop one of the German nationals to accommodate Thiago he could face a negative reaction from the fans. Therefore, fitting in Schweingsteiger and Kroos maybe crucial to appeasing fans as well as upholding the Bundesliga traditions of placing the national team first. It is highly likely that Pep Guardiola may revert to a fluid 4-3-3 system which achieved him so much success at Barcelona.

To facilitate Thiago's introduction into the first team Javi Martinez may drop to centre-back, a position he played for Althletic Bilbao on numerous occasions. Mandzukic may be dropped to the bench whilst Gotze is likely to play in a 'false' number nine role similar to what Lionel Messi did in the latter years of Guardiola's reign. The predicted line-up may look a little like this: -

If Guardiola does play a similar formation than Thiago's decision to join Bayern Munich could be vindicated, otherwise he could find himself marginalised and thus put his place in next years World Cup squad on the line.
Dipak Patel
An aspiring journalist bringing you the latest events in football analysed from a subjective point of view.

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