How Thiago and Kagawa can become the next Xavi and Iniesta
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.
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.
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.