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Thiago: Guardiola key in Bayern move

ESPN staff
July 16, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Thiago Alcantara was wanted by Manchester United © Getty Images
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New Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara says the presence of Pep Guardiola was a major factor in his decision to choose Bavaria over Manchester United.

Thiago, 20, became Bayern's second major signing of the summer on Sunday, following Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze to the Allianz Arena.

The Spain Under-21 captain joined last season's Treble winners just days after Guardiola had publically stated his desire to sign him.

The €25 million transfer was confirmed by both clubs late on Sunday and less than 24 hours later Thiago landed in the Bavarian capital.

Speaking to Bayern's official website, the midfielder admitted he was delighted to be reunited with Guardiola.

"If there's a day in your life when you can be completely happy, today is one of those days. I'm thrilled to be at a massive club like Bayern Munich." Thiago said before turning his attention to his new boss.

"We've known each other for a long time, and he's a coach who has placed great faith in me. I'm a huge fan of the way he likes football to be played.

"There aren't many coaches in the world with his ability. He was definitely one of the important reasons for me making the move to Munich."

With the Bayern midfield flooded with talents, the versatile Spaniard hopes to make an impact at the Champions League winners.

"Munich is a spectacular city with fantastic flair and a tremendous passion for football. I'm really enthusiastic about this adventure," he explained. "I hope I play plenty of games, and that we can retain the trophies from last season."

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has been tipped as one of the players to be dropped from Bayern's starting XI.

During the 2012-2013 campaign Kroos had mainly played in central midfield, before a muscular injury put an early end to his season in April.

"In such a team with so much quality a lot of very, very good players had to sit on the bench last season," Kroos told the press after Bayern's 4-0 victory over his hometown club Hansa Rostock on Sunday - only a couple of hours before the official confirmation of the transfer.

"The coach has to find a position for him [Thiago]. I believe he is a very good footballer and good footballers are always welcome."

The Thiago transfer, however, has indeed increased competition at Bayern. With national team players from five possible World Cup favourites - Brazil, France, Netherlands, Spain and - of course - Germany - it has been speculated that the apparent midfield overload could bring unrest to the club.

Bayern defender Jerome Boateng and Kroos are two of the players that could lose their spot in the Germany team, facing tough competition from players of other Bundesliga clubs, with the latter admitting that playing for Germany is "only possible through good performance for the club".

German daily Die Welt, meanwhile, commented: "With Alcantara, eleven players are now competing for a maximum of seven spots in midfield, most probably only five. At first glance, Bayern's midfield looks like a crowd of tourists waiting at a gate of an overbooked flight. All of them have a ticket, and all of them have the right to be on board but still a few have to wait outside."

However, a positive for the Germany national team could be that Bayern's stars are spared what could be a potential 66 games this season ahead of the World Cup.

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