Thiago opts for Bayern

Manchester United’s transfer ambitions suffered a significant setback last night after Barcelona and Bayern Munich reached a deal for the transfer of Thiago Alcantara.

Thiago opts for Bayern

The highly-rated midfielder was one of David Moyes’ top transfer targets but last night Barcelona revealed they had accepted a bid from the European champions for the 22-year-old.

A short statement from the Primera Division side said a fee of €25 million had been agreed for a player, who starred in Spain’s recent European U21 Championship success, scoring a hat-trick in the final against Italy.

“FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich have reached an agreement over the transfer of the player Thiago Alcantara to the German club for a total of €25m,” it read.

“This agreement also includes holding a friendly match between the two teams, which will be played in the next four years.”

Bayern director of sport Matthias Sammer had earlier played down reports suggesting Thiago was heading to the Allianz Arena.

However, the German outfit confirmed last night the Spain international is set to put pen to paper on a four-year deal in a move which will see him link up with former boss Pep Guardiola.

“The Spanish midfielder will travel in the coming days to Munich to attend the medical examination and signing a four-year contract until June 30, 2017,” read a statement on Bayern’s website.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: “Thiago Alcantara was the biggest wish of our new coach Pep Guardiola. We are pleased that we have succeeded in this great transfer.

“Thiago has only just been named the best player at the European U21 Championship. He is a fantastic player with great perspective, which will strengthen Bayern.”

The news capped a bad weekend for Moyes as his first game as United manager ended in defeat on Saturday, Teeratep Winothai scoring the only goal for Singha All Stars in Bangkok .

The same fate befell Manuel Pellegrini as his first game as Manchester City manager finished in a 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat against SuperSport United in Pretoria yesterday afternoon.

Fernandinho was given a starting berth at Loftus Versfeld and the tourists looked strong in the first half, but could not find the breakthrough.

Pellegrini changed the entire XI at half-time, and the hosts needed only 11 minutes after the restart to break the deadlock.

Senegalese striker Mame Niang rose highest to nod the opener past Costel Pantilimon in the 56th minute, with a neat finish from South African forward Kermit Erasmus sealing matters nine minutes from time.

There were further disappointment to come for the Premier League runners-up, when Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure limped off in the 83rd minute.

Arsenal enjoyed a much more successful start to their tour of the Far East, hammering an Indonesia All Stars XI 7-0 in Jakarta.

England forward Theo Walcott slammed home the opener after 19 minutes, before the floodgates opened after the interval.

Chuba Akpom slotted home nine minutes after the restart and Olivier Giroud’s quickfire brace had stretched the Gunners’ advantage to 4-0 by the 73rd minute.

Lukas Podolski, Kristoffer Olsson and Thomas Eisfeld added their names to the scoresheet to seal the rout.

On Saturday, Liverpool’s new forward Iago Aspas marked his debut with a goal as Brendan Rodgers’ side ran out 4-0 winners over League One Preston.

Philippe Coutinho, Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling got the other goals.

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