By DAN KARELL
For the first time in the summer transfer window, Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has raided his former club for a burgeoning talent.
The German side completed a deal for Barcelona and Spain Under-21 Thiago Alcantara worth a total of €25 million ($32.56 million), reuniting Thiago with Guardiola after two years apart. The transfer for Thiago came in just in the last week, despite plenty of interest from Manchester United this summer. The transfer will also include a friendly match between the two sides, with Barcelona keeping the gate receipts.
Thiago, who signed a four-year contract with Bayern, said recently that he was looking for a club where he could get playing time. However, he’ll be joining a stacked midfield including Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and countrymen Javi Martinez.
Earning the praises of Guardiola, Thiago will be expected to step in and show why he won this summer’s MVP honors at the Euro Under-21 championships. Last season, Thiago played 36 matches, scoring three times in all competitions for Barcelona.
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MAN UNITED MAKES BID FOR FABREGAS
In response to missing out on Thiago, it seems that David Moyes and Manchester United haven’t looked far for their second option.
Last season’s English Premier League champions have submitted a transfer bid of €30 million ($39 million) for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, hoping to lure the former Arsenal man to Old Trafford, according to reports in England. Though Fabregas has denied wanting to leave, reports state that he could be interested in a move back to the EPL due to his tough time getting into the Barcelona side for big matches.
Since moving to Barcelona two seasons ago from Arsenal, Fabregas has featured mostly in La Liga and Copa Del Rey matches, but only started half of the team’s Champions League matches, sitting on the bench eight times, including the 4-0 defeat last year to Bayern Munich.
FRANCE WIN UNDER-20 WORLD CUP
Though it’s not always the case, the team with arguably the best individual talent in the tournament took home the championship.
France, featuring the likes of Paul Pogba, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Yaya Sanogo, Kurt Zouma, Florian Thauvin, and more, won the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in penalty kicks, defeating Uruguay in the final in Istanbul, Turkey, after the two sides failed to score in regulation and extra time.
French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola came up huge in the penalty kick shootout, saving Uruguay two penalties while the eventual winners scored all four of their attempts. Defender Dimitri Foulquier, who had started in every match of the tournament, scored the cup-winning penalty kick, leading to mass celebrations on the field for the French squad.
Earlier in the day, Ghana defeated Iraq, 3-0. The tournament awards went to Pogba (Golden Ball), Ebenezer Assifuah of Ghana (Golden Shoe, six goals), and goalkeeper Guillermo de Amores of Uruguay (Golden Glove).
Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic is reportedly nearing a move to Manchester City, having been left off the Italian side’s pre-season roster. (REPORT)
Steven Gerrard will sign a new contract with Liverpool. (REPORT)
AC Milan are likely to sign Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda in January from CSKA Moscow. (REPORT)
Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly made a bid in excess of €35 million for AS Roma defender Marquinhos. (REPORT)
What do you think of these reports? Do you like Thiago’s move to Bayern? Do you see Fabregas returning to the EPL? Impressed by France in the Under-20 World Cup?
Share your thoughts below.