Man City target Thiago as Pogba hopes fade

The Premier League club recognise that the Juventus midfielder is likely to opt for Barcelona and have therefore identified the Bayern Munich star as a potential alternative

GOALEXCLUSIVE   By Sam Lee & Paul Clennam

Manchester City have already identified Thiago Alcantara as a potential alternative to Paul Pogba ahead of next summer’s transfer window, Goal understands.
By Andreas Konigl

Thiago extended his contract until 2019 just one month ago, saying to BILD: "It has been two difficult years for me but the club always stood by me. You cannot give thanks with words, you have to give it back on pitch. My family is really feeling comfortable here. The extension is great. A good group is growing together here."

The midfielder is a regular in the Bayern side although his performances haven't been that impressive so far this season. Nevertheless, club, coach and player are happy with Thiago's current situation although a mega offer from City may well prove tempting.

The former Barca player isn't a Bayern role model in the mould of the likes of Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm, though I expect Bayern would reject anything but a sensational bid for his services.

The Premier League leaders embarked on an unprecedented spending spree during the close season, bringing in six new players at a cost of just over £150 million.

The likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling have played an instrumental role in ensuring City have begun the new domestic campaign in scintillating form, winning seven of their first eight games in all competitions.

Despite that impressive start, the club’s director of football Tixi Begiristain is already drawing up a list of ambitious targets a year in advance.

 City maintain an interest in Pogba, having been prepared to break the world transfer record for his services last summer.

But with the France international understood to prefer a move to Barcelona, City have been keeping tabs on the Spain playmaker who they deem to be a far cheaper alternative.

 City dispatched scouts to run the rule over Tiago twice already this season and will continue to keep tabs on a player whose Bayern career has been regularly interrupted by a series of long-term injuries.

The 24-year-old, who snubbed a move to Manchester United two years ago, made only 13 appearances last season but has been a mainstay of the side which has won its last eight matches in all competitions.

Despite Manuel Pellegrini signing a new contract in the summer, reports linking Bayern manager Pep Guardiola with the manager’s role at the Etihad Stadium have continued to surface.

The former Barcelona boss’s contract with Bayern expires in the summer but Goal understands City will pursue Tiago regardless of whether their long-standing interest in Guardiola bears fruit.