By Wayne Veysey
One of the rising stars of Spanish football has already agreed terms with the Premier League champions and is prepared to give notice of his decision to leave the club he joined at 14 in imminent talks with Barca officials.
Sources have said that United are confident of completing a €18 million deal for the 22-year-old despite late interest from Bayern Munich.
It is believed that Barcelona have privately given up hope of persuading the graduate of the club’s famous La Masia academy to stay despite giving him assurances that he will have a bigger first-team role in coming years.
Thiago, who scored a hat-trick for Spain in the recent European Under-21 Championship final against Italy, feels there are too many marquee players blocking his path to a regular senior role at Camp Nou.
The attacking midfielder has gone on holiday, leaving his representatives and father, the former Brazil World Cup winner Mazinho, to tell Barcelona that he wants to leave.
Thiago has a contract that runs until 2015 but his exit clause plummeted from €90 million to €18m after he failed to participate for a stipulated amount of minutes in the 2012-13 season. The buy-out clause is due to return to €90m on August 1.
United are ready to take advantage of the relatively low clause to make Thiago the first major signing for new manager David Moyes, who officially takes over at Old Trafford on Monday.