United closing in on Thiago

Manchester United are thought to be on the verge of completing the £17million signing of Spanish sensation Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona.

The Daily Mail understands that the Premier League champions have agreed a £5m-a-year deal with the 22 year old, to beat the likes of rivals Manchester City and Chelsea to his signature.

The deal has not yet been finalised, and sources have revealed that there is no announcement set for Friday, with discussions between the two clubs set to continue over the weekend.

Thiago outlined his potential as one of European football’s top talents by scoring a hat-trick in Spain’s 4-2 European under 21 Championships final over Italy on Tuesday.

He has struggled to hold down a first team place at the Nou Camp, with Xavi, Andres Ineista and Cesc Fabregas currently ahead of him in the pecking order, yet still made twenty-seven appearances in La Liga last season, scoring two goals.

Meanwhile, Juventus have quashed any hoped United had over agreeing a deal for midfielder Claudio Marchisio, with the Serie A champions insisting that he is not for sale.

The Italian international had been linked with a move to Old Trafford following the retirement of Paul Scholes, and on-going uncertainty over the future of Darren Fletcher.