- Primera Liga
Pique: Barca cannot let Thiago escape
While Thiago Alcantara's camp and Barcelona remain silent over the player's potential €18 million move to Manchester United, Gerard Pique says the Catalan club must "do everything possible" to ensure the transfer does not happen.
Widespread reports in the English and Spanish press have said that Thiago is currently mulling over whether to accept an offer from the English champions, having grown unhappy at a lack of important first-team action at the Nou Camp.
Pique's voice has been among the loudest of those calling for the club to do everything to keep Thiago happy and ensure he stays, and the blaugrana defender told Catalan radio station RAC1 that his team-mate must not leave.
"[Thiago] is a top level player and we cannot let him escape," Pique said. "We must do everything possible to keep him."
It is widely believed in Spain that there is a release clause in Thiago's contract which means he is available this summer for one fifth of the price otherwise required [€90 million]. That has alerted United and other reported suitors including Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid, to the opportunity.
His price may not be quite so low however, with Mundo Deportivo claiming on Wednesday Barca had told them that a buyer would also need to pay the corresponding VAT on any transaction, something which would lift the total fee required to €27 million.
But that still looks a bargain for a 22-year-old player who is already a senior international for Spain, and recently scored a hat-trick from midfield while captaining his country to a 4-2 win over Italy in the European Under-21 championship final.