Pep Guardiola has confirmed Bayern Munich's interest in signing Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, seemingly ending Manchester United's pursuit of the Spanish international
The Barcelona star has been heavily linked with a move away from the Nou Camp after the club failed to assure him the first team football opportunities he sorely desires.
United appeared to be the favourites to sign the 22-year-old midfielder, but newly appointed Bayern manager Guardiola has revealed in the strongest possible terms that he wishes to bring the Spaniard to the Allianz Arena this summer.
"I want Thiago Alcantara. I have asked (Bayern to get him). I don't know what will happen," Guardiola told a press conference, as reported by journalist Rafael Honigstein through his Twitter account.
"I know him very well. I talked to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern chairman) and Matthias Sammer (the club's sporting director) about him; we will wait and then see.
"Thiago is the only player I want, that's what I told them. It will be him or no one."
"We have many players but we need the special quality that Thiago Alcantara brings."
Pep: "I want Thiago Alcantara. Have asked (Bayern to get him) Don't know what will happen".
— raphael honigstein (@honigstein) July 11, 2013
Thiago, who captained Spain Under-21's as they lifted the European Championships this summer, scoring a hat trick in the final, also has a €18m release clause in his contract, making the possibility of signing him an increasingly tantalising one.
Bayern's current central midfield pairing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez proved to be one of the most formidable in Europe during their stunning Champions League run last season, which included a 7-0 aggregate rout over Barcelona en route to lifting the trophy.
But Guardiola, who gave the Barcelona midfielder his debut during his hugely successful reign at the Nou Camp in 2011, suggested that Thiago will have little problem in earning first team football with the Bavarian giants.
"Nobody will leave Barcelona, unless they feel they won't play much. He wants to play. That's why I proposed him to the club," Guardiola added.
"Javi Martinez can play at centre back, he played very well there with Athletic (Martinez's former club)."
"I give my opinion, but I listen to the board. If they say no, that's okay."
Guardiola's comments will come as a devastating blow to United, who had seemingly identified the Italian born midfielder Thiago as the long term solution to their midfield concerns. Following the retirement of Paul Scholes and the uncertainly surrounding the futures of Darren Fletcher and Anderson, United's midfield is devoid of consistent options other than Michael Carrick.