Thiago Alcantara: Why did Liverpool-bound midfielder fail to join Manchester United in 2013?

  • Rob Swan

Liverpool fans are over the moon at the thought of Thiago Alcantara’s imminent arrival.

The Bayern Munich midfielder has agreed a four-year contract with the Reds, who will pay £20 million (plus £5 million in add-ons) for the 29-year-old.

Thiago, who won the Champions League with Bayern last season, is widely regarded as one of the most technically gifted midfielders in Europe.

"Thiago is an exceptional player who spent seven hugely successful years here," Bayern boss Hansi Flick said on Thursday.

”He's a wonderful person and an outstanding professional. It was very emotional today when he said goodbye to us all."

Thiago had also been linked with a move to Manchester United, but the player’s preference was to play under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.


United had their chance to sign Thiago back in 2013, when he was coming to the end of his spell at Barcelona, but the Red Devils blew it.

Per The Athletic’s Daniel Taylor, Thiago was Sir Alex Ferguson’s leaving ‘present’ to his successor David Moyes.

Ferguson and his staff had apparently spent years scouting the midfielder and everything had been agreed.

However, Taylor says the deal failed to materialise because of Moyes, who called the deal off because he didn’t feel he knew enough about the player.

Instead, Moyes ended up signing Marouane Fellaini from his former club Everton on the final day of the summer transfer window.

What a disastrous decision. Surely everybody in football knows you should always trust Fergie.


A couple of football fans in Taylor’s replies, however, believe Ryan Giggs may actually be the man to blame for the Thiago deal collapsing.

A report on Who Ate All The Pies from May 2014 says: “In a rather fascinating disclosure on Radio 5 Live today, journalist Ian McGarry has claimed that Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, in his role as assistant manager to David Moyes, vetoed the signing of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara last summer.


“According to McGarry, who was interviewed by Mark Chapman, the then United boss Moyes asked for all his head coaches to give their opinion on Thiago Alcantara, with the deal all but done. It is then that Giggs piped up to claim that the Barcelona star, who subsequently moved to Bayern Munich, wasn’t a ‘United player’, with Moyes pulling out of deal soon after. Make of that what you will.

“Although one imagines the Spaniard would’ve been more of a ‘United player’ last season than Tom Cleverley or Marouane Fellaini.”

But Moyes, in his role as manager, would surely have had the final say at the time.

Regardless, it was a bad error on United’s part.

They could have signed one of Europe’s best central midfielders seven years ago - and now he’s about to start plying his trade for Klopp’s Liverpool.

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