Bayern battle United for Thiago
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed he wants to sign Manchester United target Thiago Alcantara from old club Barcelona.
- Related Content
The highly-rated Spain Under-21 star has apparently decided he needs to quit the Nou Camp in order to increase his chances of making next summer's World Cup.
It seemed Manchester United were in pole position to sign the midfielder, with new manager David Moyes keen for Thiago to bolster an area of the Red Devils squad weakened by the retirement of Paul Scholes.
But United landed in Bangkok for the start of their pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia to reports in Spain that Thiago had opted to link up with his former boss in Munich.
And, speaking in Germany on Thursday, Guardiola has confirmed he wants Thiago at the Allianz Arena.
"Yes," Guardiola told reporters, when asked if he was interested in Thiago
"I don't know what's going to happen. We have to wait. But I know him very well. He is a super, super player.
"He can play in three, four or five positions."
And Guardiola has made it clear he is not interested in anyone else.
"It is either Thiago or nothing," he said.
It is not the way Moyes would have wanted to begin his first pre-season tour with United, even if defender Rio Ferdinand has already noted an additional focus as his team-mates look to impress their new boss.
"When you get a new manager you want to show him that you should be in the starting XI for that first day of the new season. That process has started already," said the centre-back.
With one former team-mate, Phil Neville, installed as a coach and a current one, Ryan Giggs, combining a backroom role with his playing responsibilities, there is an air of familiarity about Moyes' work.
And the general consensus is that United remain a tight-knit group.
"We've been back from our holidays for more than a week and it's been a really good start," said Ferdinand.
"It's been very hard but it's been enjoyable and we'll see the benefits of the work we've been putting in back in Manchester and the work we're about to do on tour in the shape of better fitness and a better understanding of the personalities of the players and coaching staff.
"It's a new era for all of us. Hopefully things will come together and we can get off to a good start once the season begins."
As usual, United's arrival in this part of the world attracted crowds, both at the airport and team hotel.
It is the scale and intensity of this support for the club upon which so much of their huge commercial success is based and it would be no surprise to learn the opening game of United's five-match tour of the Far East and Australia, against Singha All Stars on Saturday, is a sell-out.
Moyes' first task, along with Giggs was to sign a book of good wishes for the Thai king, who is so revered in the country.
And although United's players were allowed some rest after their 12-hour flight, they took part in a closed doors training session later in the day.