The former Red Devils defender claims the Spain international wanted a move to Old Trafford during the summer of 2013
Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Manchester United passed up the chance to sign Thiago Alcantara during the summer of 2013, with David Moyes favouring a move for Marouane Fellaini.
The classy Spain international midfielder was preparing to sever ties with Barcelona in that transfer window, with an exit from Camp Nou being sought amid fierce competition for places.
Interest from England was sounded out, with Ferdinand asked to nudge the Red Devils towards doing a deal, but recruitment advice was ignored and a man now at Liverpool ended up joining Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
What has been said?
Former United defender Ferdinand, who once played against Thiago, told Vibe with FIVE of a missed opportunity for the Red Devils: “Before Thiago left Barcelona he called me.
“He speaks fluent English and we had played against Barcelona in the United States on tour and he was unreal. He played as the number 10 and he scored a worldie.
“So we knew about him anyway and a few years later Moyes was manager. I don’t speak to Thiago, I don’t know him, but David de Gea gave him my number.
“So he [Thiago] rang me, and he said, ‘Rio, I would love to come to Man Utd, can you speak to someone?’
“He said to me, ‘I would like the opportunity to come to Man Utd, is there anybody that I could or you could speak to, to see the interest?’
“So I spoke to the people at the club… Moyes, it might have [also] been [Ed] Woodward, I mentioned it. [They replied], ‘no, we’re already down the line with a couple of other signings, it’s fine’.
“I think he was given 24 hours, Thiago, to make a decision. He ended up ringing me up next morning again, ‘I’ve slept on it, can you let me know about Man Utd, what’s going on?’.
“I asked again and he said again, ‘I’ve got 24 hours to make a decision otherwise Pep won’t take me to Bayern Munich’.
“He ended up going to Bayern Munich, and the rest is history. But what a guy, great guy.”
The bigger picture
Thiago went on to spend seven years with Bayern, taking in 235 appearances.
He helped them to seven Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown, with a move to England finally made after savouring European glory.
Jurgen Klopp snapped him up in the summer of 2020 as no new contract was going to be signed at the Allianz Arena.
Thiago endured a testing debut campaign at Anfield, with a bout of coronavirus and niggling injury issues working against him.
Questions were also asked of his ability to fit into Klopp’s tactical system, but doubters were won over towards the end of 2020-21 as Liverpool secured a top-four finish.