Chelsea are casting admiring glances at Barcelona starlet Thiago Alcantara after their chances of signing Tottenham’s Luka Modric appeared to recede.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has been in bullish mood stating that there was no way that the Croatian schemer would be leaving the club, choosing to place his faith in chairman Daniel Levy’s stance that they would be keeping hold of their best players. While Chelsea privately believe that their London rivals would be prepared to sell should they increase their bid nearer to £40m, plans are being put in place should Levy not prove to be bluffing and their search has led them to Catalunya.
The player known simply as Thiago has enjoyed a semingly inexorable rise in recent months. Since starring for Barcelona in the final games of last season after the Primera Liga title was secured and the first choice players were rested ahead of the Champions League final, the 20-year-old has emerged as one of Europe’s brightest prospects. He was the star player in Spain’s victorious Under 21 side at the European Championships in June – in a team that also boasted Premier League new boys Juan Mata and David de Gea – and was even named man of the match in the final.
His promise was rewarded with a new four-year contract at Camp Nou in July which will tie him to the club until 2015 but that was prior to the signing of Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal which has further strengthened the competition for places in an what was already the best midfield in the world. The Blues hope to take advantage of the situation by offering the player more regular football and are reportedly prepared to offer £15m for Thiago.
There is even the possibility of enginerring a ‘buy back’ option which Barcelona have installed in two deals in which players have left the club. The European champions have seen Bojan Krkic move to Roma and Oriol Romeu transfer to Chelsea but in both cases have reserved the right to bring the players back to the club at specified times for specified prices. This arrangement could prove very useful in this particular instance as Barcelona are known to value Thiago highly, so much so that they have inserted a 90m Euro release clause in his contract.