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10 things you need to know about Thiago Alcantara

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It now looks incredibly likely that Barcelona maestro Thiago Alcantara will make a switch to Manchester United in the coming weeks as David Moyes looks to find a replacement for the now-retired Paul Scholes, so here are 10 facts to whet the whistles of fans of the Premier League.

1) Thiago was born in Bari in Italy and didn’t move to Spain until he was five years old as his father – World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994 Mazinho – made a move to Elche.  He returned to Brazil and Flemengo as his Dad went back but would move to Spain permanently when he was a young teenager.

2) Thiago made his Barcelona debut aged 18 after replacing former Chelsea forward Eidur Gudjohnsen in the last quarter of an hour against Mallorca back in 2009.

3) He scored his first goal the following year in a 4-0 mauling of Racing de Santander at Camp Nou.

4) Thiago became a permanent first team player when Pep Guardiola took the reins back in 2011 and signed a new four-year contract. In his first campaign under the former Barcelona player he featured in 45 games.

5) After representing Spain right up from U16 level, he was a key member of the U21 squad which claimed victory at the U21 championships in 2011. His performances won him a place in the senior side and he made his first senior competitive appearance in a 6-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein the same year.

6) Thiago played 27 La Liga games last season as Barcelona romped to league victory, accumulating a pass success of 92%.

7) United have previously shown interest in the midfielder but he was keen to break into the Barcelona first team. Now, he is said to be seeking more first team playing time and sees a move to Old Trafford as the perfect step for him.

8) Thiago has previously picked up two knee injuries in the early stages of the season (2009/10 & 2012/13) which have kept him out for two months at time.

9) The player is represented by KICK & RUN SPORTS Management, the same agency as former Arsenal midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song, but also Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck.

10) Thiago is in a long term relationship with Julia Vigas.