CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images
March 15, 2017
Barcelona are reportedly keen to bring Thiago Alcantara back to the club from Bayern Munich in the summer.
The midfielder made the switch to the Allianz Arena in 2013, heading to the Bundesliga giants along with his former Barca manager Pep Guardiola. According to Cadena SER (h/t Sport), the Catalan side are keen on a reunion, with sporting director Robert Fernandez keeping track of his displays for Bayern.
Since his move to the Bundesliga, the 25-year-old has established himself as one of the most effective playmakers in the game.
Here’s a look at what he can offer:
As noted by Sport, Barcelona lost Thiago for a cut-price fee after a stipulation in his contract said he could leave for €18 million (£15.65 million) if he didn’t feature in 60 per cent of games.
While that was a blow for the Camp Nou outfit, having honed the skills of the youngster in their La Masia academy, for Thiago’s own development it’s been a boost. Under Guardiola, he progressed superbly at Bayern, and now he’s the linchpin of Carlo Ancelotti’s midfield setup alongside Arturo Vidal and Xabi Alonso.
Guardiola took Thiago to Bayern.CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images
Per WhoScored.com’s rating system, it’s only Barcelona’s two star men who have performed to a higher standard than Thiago so far this season:
Top rated players in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season:
Neymar – 8.45
Messi – 8.34
Thiago – 8.13
Hazard – 7.89
Alexis – 7.85
Suarez – 7.78 https://t.co/lygSQzgLGY
3/10/2017, 12:45:49 PM
Having struggled to find a balance in midfield for much of the campaign, Barcelona supporters will feel a tinge of regret watching their former starlet boss matches at the highest level.
For the Blaugrana, replacing the now departed Xavi was always going to be an impossible task. But at the moment, the most stylistically similar player to the Barcelona icon in world football is arguably Thiago, who manages the pace of a game, has an excellent passing range and has showcased sharp cerebral instincts in midfield.
Thiago has been exceptional this season.Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
Given he spent his youth at La Masia and his brother Rafinha remains at the football club, Thiago will always have an affinity with Barcelona. But as things stand, it’s unlikely that he’d be too desperate to leave Bavaria given the success Bayern continue to enjoy at the very highest level.
Sports journalist Cristian Nyari believes that at Bayern, the Spain international has forged the best central midfield partnership in the game alongside Vidal:
Cristian Nyari @Cnyari
Also Thiago & Vidal proved again that they’re up there as the best midfield duo in the world.
3/7/2017, 9:35:15 PM
As noted in the initial report, Thiago’s current contract with Bayern is set to expire in 2019, and the German champions have no intention to sell him.
That’s no surprise. After all, Alonso has announced he is to walk away from football at the end of the season, while Vidal, who is still a force of nature in the middle of the park, turns 30 later this year. Thiago, alongside the likes of Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches, is very much the future of the Bayern midfield.
With that in mind, not to mention his current status as one of the very best central midfielders in the game, Barcelona would have to spend a massive amount to bring him back to Catalonia.