Guardiola admits: Thiago is the only player I want

Bayern coach set to frustrate United as he seeks reunion with midfielder he coached at Barca

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 4:18am


Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola yesterday confirmed the European champions' interest in Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

Spanish media had already linked the 22-year-old Alcantara to the Champions League winners and ex-Barcelona coach Guardiola has admitted he has asked the Bavarian giants to sign the midfielder.

"Yes, I want Thiago Alcantara, I have asked [Bayern to get him]," said Guardiola at Bayern's pre-season training camp in north Italy. "I know him very, very well. He's a great player and can cover three, four, five positions.

"I have talked to [chairman Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and [director of sport Matthias] Sammer, we will have to wait and see.

"Thiago is the only player I want, it will be him or no one. We have many players, but we need the special qualities Thiago Alcantara brings."

Both Manchester United and Real Madrid have been linked to Alcantara, who has a market value of around €20 million (HK$202 million) and captained Spain Under-21 to the European title and was voted player of the tournament.

Alcantara, who has a contract at Barcelona until June 2015, scored a first-half hat-trick as Spain beat Italy 4-2 in the European Under-21 Championships in Jerusalem last month.

Thiago is the only player I want, it will be him or no one. We have many players, but we need the special qualities Thiago Alcantara brings
Bayern Coach Pep Guardiola

Bayern already have several midfield stars with Germany's Mario Goetze signed from Borussia Dortmund, plus Holland's Arjen Robben, France's Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos and Swiss Xherdan Shaqiri vying for places.

"I don't think adding another midfielder will be a problem for us," said Guardiola. "I spoke to the club about my concept and told them why I want Thiago Alcantara. I give my opinion, but I listen to the board. If they say no, that's okay.

"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."

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund counterpart Juergen Klopp has said he is relishing having Guardiola, who won 14 titles in four years at the Spanish giants, as his opposite number on the Bayern bench.

Having won the 2010-11 and 2011-12 German titles, Dortmund were left empty handed last season as Bayern became the first German team to win the treble of Champions League, league and cup, breaking or equalling 25 Bundesliga records in the process.

Dortmund were beaten in the Champions League final by Bayern, knocked out by them in the German Cup, and finished a distant second to them in the Bundesliga.

But Klopp insisted: "The way he had his team playing in Barcelona was simply fantastic and he's a real role model.

"Now he's at a new club and the first impression is that everything fits. In the past if you wanted to become a great coach you went abroad.

"Now someone like Guardiola has come to Germany."