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Who'll Make Way For Thiago?

Bayern Munich were pleased to announce that they had signed Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona, beating Manchester United to the Spanish U21 skipper’s signature.

Barca did not want to let Thiago go, and it says something about his ability that Bayern actually paid €7 million more for Thiago than his release clause stipulated.

However, as promising a player as Thiago clearly is, there has been a lot of head scratching in Bavaria about how he will fit into Bayern’s line-up.

He only quit Barca in pique of ambition, with more first-team game time his main priority. And so it seems odd that Thiago has joined a team where he will face as much, if not more competition, than he did at Barca.

After all, Bayern managed to win the Treble last season with all of seasoned internationals Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luiz Gustavo, Javi Martinez and Thomas Muller vying for a spot in midfield.

And that was before the new poster boy of German man football- Mario Gotze- signed, and without an injured player who it could be argued is as good as Gotze- Toni Kroos, or Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri, who hardly cracked a game last season.

To say that Bayern’s first-team squad is star-studded is hardly an exaggeration, and so it has come as no surprise that sporting director Matthias Sammer has warned there could be a few bruised egos in Bavaria soon, after Thiago’s arrival.

Sammer has hinted that with so many top players to choose from, there is the chance that someone may have to be sold.

"If all players stay fit, we will have to make some difficult decisions," he told Bild.

After missing out on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, English Premier League side Liverpool are said to have turned their attentions to Shaqiri.

The powerfully built Swiss joined Bayern after starring at Euro 2012, and surely has vast potential.

But it could be that he is the one left hurt by Bayern’s “difficult decisions”, with some reports suggesting the Reds are readying a bid.

Yet in what many German fans might consider sacrilegious speculation, some pundits have begun to wonder if perhaps it could Kroos who is sacrificed.

Having previously suggested that 23-year-old Kroos would be offered a new contract as a “priority” before his current deal expires in 2015, Bayern may now be inclined to let him “seek [the] new experience” he once spoke of, now that Thiago is in town.

Of Bayern's current midfielders, it's hard to imagine talisman Schweinsteiger or German lucky charm Muller making way, while Gotze has only just arrived dramatically, and Martinez was reportedly Pep Guardiola's first signing- one year before the manager even joined!

Perhaps it will be defensively-minded Gustavo who makes way, but then who will be Guardiola's new Sergio Busquets? 

Whoever is forced out at Bayern by Thiago’s transfer, the German giants will hardly be short in midfield. And some other team in Europe may find they can’t believe their luck at having landed a Treble champions unexpectedly.

Who do you think is most at risk of a “difficult decision” at Bayern? Click here to tell us.

By: Jared Chaitowitz 


Follow Jared on Twitter: @JaredSLinter

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