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Barcelona Transfer Rumors: Latest Buzz on Neymar and Thiago Alcantara

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Neymar of Brazil during an International Friendly between Brazil and Russia at Stamford Bridge on March 25, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 24, 2013

Despite securing the La Liga title this season, Barcelona suffered some gut-wrenching defeats in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League this spring, suggesting that changes are necessary in order for the European power to reach new heights in 2013-14.

With Lionel Messi in the midst of his prime and playing at an unrivaled level, luring top talent to Camp Nou shouldn't be all that difficult. 

Here we'll break down a pair of transfer rumors surrounding the club, both of which could potentially have a mighty impact on the look of the squad moving forward. 

 

Neymar On His Way to Camp Nou?

According to ESPN's Max Bretos, Barcelona is getting very close to acquiring electric forward Neymar from Brazilian club Santos

The 21-year-old striker has been linked to Barca through numerous reports recently, and given that the Spanish powerhouse is routinely vying for La Liga titles and seemingly always in the UEFA Champions League mix, who wouldn't want to be in Camp Nou?

Neymar has scored 136 goals in over 220 appearances for Santos since 2009 and is widely regarded as one of if not the top young strikers in the game today.

A player with very few weaknesses on the pitch, Neymar is a wizard with the ball at his feet, capable of creating for himself or others. There are no questions about his ability to finish around the box or navigate through opposing defenses.

If teamed with Lionel Messi at the top of the Barcelona lineup, Neymar could become even more lethal.

 

Thiago Alcantara Headed to Old Trafford?

While Barcelona looks set to bring in a new talent this summer, there's a chance that the club could be waving goodbye to another young face. 

According to Goal.com's Paul Clennam, English Premier League champion Manchester United still has interest in Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara, a 22-year-old who has struggled to earn playing time in Camp Nou

Manchester United's new manager David Moyes has identified Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara as a key transfer target this summer.

The former Everton boss, who arrived at Carrington on Monday to meet with club staff after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, is set to maintain United's long-standing interest in the 22-year-old.

Sir Alex made informal enquiries regarding the youngster's availability two years ago but was rebuffed by Barcelona, who rewarded Thiago with a four-year contract in 2011.

Alcantara has 11 goals in 99 appearances for Barca since 2009, but hasn't been featured quite as often as he would like for the Spanish Primera Division champions. 

Clennam adds the following regarding Alcantara's release clause:

The midfielder has a release clause of €90 million (£77m) in his current contract with the Spanish champions - though reports in Spain have suggested this may have been dropped to as low as €17m (£14.5m) in recent weeks.

It's not expected that finances will be much of an issue to bring Alcantara to Old Trafford, assuming the club can muster up roughly £15 million to cover his release clause. And given the energy and skill Alcantara can bring to United's midfield, it's hard to argue he isn't worth every bit.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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