How Thiago and Kagawa can become the next Xavi and Iniesta

How Thiago and Kagawa can become the next Xavi and Iniesta

Manchester United
Will Thiago Alcantara join United in the summer?

Thiago Alcantara is on the verge of completing a move to Manchester United on a five-year contract which represents a superb piece of business by new United boss David Moyes.

It means that Thiago will go into the current midfield alongside Shinji Kagawa, leaving United with possibly the most creative midfield duo heading into the new Premier League season.

There are several areas where the two players could dominate for Manchester United next season, with the statistics to back them up.


Thiago had a successful passing rate of just under 92% based on La Liga, Champions League and Under-21 European Championship matches last season.

Add to that the 89.4% successful pass rate of Kagawa in the Premier League, the Champions League and the Confederations Cup so far and it’s difficult to see either of them giving the ball away regularly in United colours.

What that means for United is a much better chance of being able to dominate possession and maintain pressure over the opposition, keeping them pinned inside their own final third.


Thiago has six goals to boast from all performances in all competitions last season while Kagawa’s ratio is slightly better with eight goals.

Considering neither of them were first choice at their respective clubs next season, it suggests that if they are played together consistently, they should both be aiming for at least ten Premier League goals each.

That is a handy source of goals for United to have to support the goals from strikers and the goals from various other positions in the team.

Shinji Kagawa


In terms of assists Thiago and Kagawa are again very similar with ten assists from the Spaniard and eight assists from the Japanese midfielder.

Both of them are naturally very creative players, able to play slick passes in areas where there isn’t too much space as well as displaying great decision making inside the final third.

If United can hang onto Wayne Rooney for next summer, then he and Robin van Persie will have an unlimited supply of chances coming their way from the midfield duo.


Both players showed superb discipline last season which is very important if Moyes has plans to use them together frequently.

Kagawa picked up one yellow card in the Premier League while Thiago was booked on four different occasions in La Liga.

Based on those numbers, neither would have been banned for a Premier League game, which means Moyes has a greater chance of being able to play them both consistently without having to worry about either getting suspended.

First, United need to get the Thiago deal done and dusted and secondly the pair have a lot of work to do together, but if they can have a fraction of the impact Xavi and Iniesta have had at Barcelona, that will pay off for United big time.

For the latest transfer stories, check the Premier League transfers and La Liga transfers pages.

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Lewis Doe is a freelance sports writer and editor who has been working in the industry for over three years. Lewis graduated from a degree in journalism at City University, London in the summer of 2009. Lewis has worked for some of the biggest football opinion and news sites in the world including FootballFanCast and International.


  1. Thiago Alcantara is world class, and if signed, will flourish at Old Trafford just like Iniesta at Barca. However, i have my doubts about Shinji Kagawa, I hope he steps the mark this term but I don’t see anyone besides Isco being the next Xavi. I hope we signed Thiago and Isco!

    • You are kidding right? Isco is an attacking midfielder/ winger and cannot control the midfield like xavi.. Actually alcantara is a mixture of xavi and iniesta in the fact that he has a good passing range like xavi and good ball control and dribbling like iniesta.. If you are comparing to xavi and iniesta alcantara would be the xavi equivalent and Kagawa the iniesta equivalent.. Though both have a long way to go to be considered in the same league.. Its just an analogy

    • If anything Isco is the new Iniesta not Thiago, who would be the new Xavi.

      Kagawa, when played, was brilliant and I can see him going on to be one of the best players in the league. He has great vision for a pass, can shoot really well, is quick off the mark and also is a very good dribbler.

      Kagawa and Thiago would be fantastic together.

      • I think thiago, kagawa and fellaini can revolutionise the midfield at the theatre of dream.

    • uh… isco the next xavi??? have you even watched isco play? if anyone’s going to be the next iniesta it’s isco

  2. what a find combination! kagawa and thiago this could be the most attarking talent in the premier league.

  3. Wat a 1daful season 4 moyes, 2 bring thiago at old traford add wt kagawa, infact ds season z ours again, knw doubt who can challenge moyes ds season nah mourinho taaa, nbdy up thiago, kagawa nd moyes one u9td.

  4. Tank God, at d end thiago hs bcum u9td player, moyes u really try ur best bt remain beine, strootman nd lewandoski that’s all, ds is wat we wnts ferguson 2 do since bt he jst set hz eyes on striker only, jst watch u9td ds season u gonna c a dffrnce, u9td z now an england bercelona watch out.

  5. Yep I got it the wrong way round, I meant Isco is the new Iniesta and Thiago the new Xavi!

  6. Kagawa and Thiago would certainly be a creative duo with a lot to give. However, first things first, the ink needs to be on that dotted line – too many players have come close to signing for United only for the transfer to break down. Another thing, if Thiago does come then United certainly need a ball-winning midfielder with a bit more steel than Carrick. Carrick has been superb for the club especially last season, but a line-up containing Kagawa, Carrick and Thiago in the midfield would definitely create goals, but it also unquestionably means United would concede more. Perhaps Fletcher returns and gives the team his hard work and tenacity as he has done.

    • Carrick kagawa and thiago as a midfield three would be awsome. U wouldnt need a ball winner, who do barca have or spain as ball winner? No one just 3 exceptional footballrs. The game has changed. 3 up top in rvp ronaldo and wellbeck. All can go wide or down the middle. Moyes listen to me. Do this and united will be unstoppable. The width should come from full backs bajnes and either rafael or valencia as a full back

  7. I personally don’t see kagawa getting in the team. I rate him enormously however i cannot see a change in formation from the 4-4-2 that has been relied upon for so long. I see thiago playing alongside carrick in a midfield two with two wide men. (Which kagawa was proven not to be) the only way i can see this changing would be if rooney left and moyes decided to play van persie upfront on his own with kagawa in behind and then a flat 4 behind that.
    Also stop calling thiago ‘the new’ whoever. If he is trully world class then he will be the first Thiago (doesnt really work in this case but you get my point)

    • Utd do not need to stick to a 4-4-2 formation for all matches. One thing SAF did last season was to vary the formation of Utd to suit the opponent.

      I would definitely see Utd play a 4-3-1-2 with Carrick-Thiago-Cleverly/Anderson/Fletcher in midfield. Kagawa in the hole behind 2 strikers: Rooney and RVP or Hernandez and Welbeck. The ball possession would be awesome and all midfielders can pick out passes to the fast and technically sound strikers in Rooney and RVP or Hernandez and Welbeck

  8. Could you imagine a central 3 of thiago, Kagawa and strootman? 22, 23, 24. Domination in the centre. With rvp and Lewandowski upfront, with Rooney holding play. Rafael, Jones, smalling, Luke Shaw. And de gea. What a team.

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