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Manchester United could sign Thiago Alcântara by this Wednesday

Jul 7, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT

Italy v Spain - UEFA European U21 Championships: Final Getty Images

Despite Barcelona’s assurances to Thiago Alcântara that the 22 year old would receive regular playing time this season, it appears the midfielder is ready to sign for Manchester United.

The £17 million move could be completed perhaps as early as this week and is believed to be a five year deal that will drastically improve Alcântara’s current £30,000 a week contract.

United are gearing up to depart Wednesday on a three week pre-season tour of the far east where the club will travel to Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong.

While the deal for Alcântara is unlikely to be completed before the team’s departure, the 22 year old could meet up with his new teammates somewhere during their travels, assuming his fitness is up to snuff. There’s no reason to believe it won’t be.

Alcântara is fresh off of captaining Spain Under-21 team to the Euro 2013 championship, where he produced a number of spell-binding performances, headlined by the hat-trick he notched in the 4-2 victory over Italy in the final.

The Spaniard would bring a significant attacking threat into United’s midfield, an element that, despite claiming the 2012-13 Premier League title, was conspicuously absent from the side.  Alcântara’s quickness and skill would provide a creative attacking force that could be the perfect counter-balance to Michael Carrick’s pass-master approach.

Thiago would mark Moyes’ first major deal as United manager after signing under-the-radar right-back Guillermo Varela from Penarol on June 6th. Adding the Spaniard to the United midfield could squash the chances of Moyes’ bringing Marouane Fellaini to the club after speculation had linked the United manager with a move for his former player at Goodison Park.

In Moyes’ first press conference with the club last Friday he declined to comment on reports surrounding the potential signing of Alcântara saying only that he will “inform the supporters as much as I can.”

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