Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been long linked with a move to Manchester United, who are looking to sign him as a replacement for Paul Scholes. The 38-year-old England international retired from playing football at the end of last season, and the online betting sites are all making Thiago Alcantara the favourite to replace him.

Even though it would be tough to replace a player who has been at the peak of his powers for more than two decades, United are thought to have zeroed in on Alcantara as his replacement. The 22-year-old Spaniard is thought to be frustrated at Barcelona due to the lack of regular playing time, which is looking to jeopardise his chances of playing for Spain at the 2014 World Cup.

As a result of playing very less matches last season, Alcantara has activated a clause in his contract that will allow him to leave Barcelona for around € 20 million. This has made him a bargain since he is only 22 years old. However, United will be facing stiff competition from German club Bayern Munich after the new manager Guardiola announced that he only wants to sign Alcantara this summer. Guardiola knows Alcantara extremely well from his time at Barcelona. It is expected that he will be implementing a similar system at the Allianz Arena as well, and he sees Alcantara as a vital component of that system.

"I want Thiago Alcantara. I have asked. I don't know what will happen. I don't think that will be a problem. I spoke to club about my concept and told them why I want Thiago Alcantara. Thiago is the only player I want, that's what I told them. It will be him or no one. We have many players, but we need the special (quality) that Thiago Alcantara brings. The club will decide. I told them my opinion," said Guardiola after taking over at Bayern.