One of the longest transfer sagas in recent history finally came to a conclusion last weekend as Cesc Fabregas completed a £35m move back to his boyhood club Barcelona. He joins a team that is already blessed with world class players in every area of the pitch. This includes a superb midfield trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets to go with the tenacious Javier Mascherano. So it’s fair to say Cesc certainly has a tough task ahead in fighting his way into Barcelona’s starting XI. But what does this high profile addition to the Barcelona squad signify for the precocious midfielder Thiago Alcantara?
Until recently Thiago Alcantara was a name that was unfamiliar to many but he was clearly held in high regard at Barcelona. The son of a former Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho and elder brother of Barcelona B player Rafinha football talent certainly ran strong in his family. After making his first team in 2009 debut at the tender age of 18 it was apparent that the Barcelona youth team had produced yet another star.
This summers UEFA European Under-21 Championships provided the ideal stage for this technically gifted midfielder to showcase his talents. Prior to the tournament Alcantara was singled out as one of the players to watch by Sky Sports pundits Martin Tyler and GuillemBalague. He certainly didn’t disappoint playing a pivotal role in the Spanish side and helped lead them to victory in Denmark.
Throughout the tournament Alcantara displayed some of the traits that have become accustomed with a Spanish player including a superb level of passing, quick feet and an inept ability to retain possession. He capped the tournament off by scoring a superb 40 yard free kick in the final as Spain ran out 2-0 winners against Switzerland. Alcantara went on to be named man of the match in the final and also player of the tournament, an award which few could dispute.
On his return to Barcelona speculation about Alcantara’s future began to mount with a number of Europe’s top clubs rumoured to be chasing his signature. With Barcelona still actively pursuing Cesc Fabregas at the time it was suggested that Alcantara could be used in a possible cash plus player deal. This speculation was abruptly quelled as Alcantara signed a new four year deal at Barcelona with a buy out clause of €90m. He went on to enjoy a successful pre season scoring goals against Manchester United and Bayern Munich as well as making his international debut in a friendly against Italy.
Without doubt Alcantara is held in high regard at the Nou Camp and will certainly be looking to break into the first team following an impressive summer. But with the recent addition of Cesc Fabregas to go with an already gifted midfield, Alcantara could find his first team opportunities limited this season. So will this young Spaniard be patient and bide his time at the club or will the desire for first team football force him to look elsewhere. One thing is for certain this gifted young midfielder will not be short of potential suitors should he become available.
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